Chart: Graduation Success and Failure by Family Income Level
(Click chart to go to source)
This chart comes to us from Darla Cameron and Laura Stanton of the Washington Post. It’s a brilliant little piece of interactive graphics, going beyond the usual “lump-’em-all-together” statistical analysis. This chart details not just how all college students fare, but how students from four strata of family income levels succeed in terms of graduation after six years.
This should be helpful to students to personalize the statistics a bit more and be less prone to the mental errors associated with the “flaw of averages.” While it’s true that on average 44% of all students graduate in six years with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, students can now look a bit deeper into the numbers to get a better sense of how their financial peers do in the college environment. For instance, according to this chart, students from higher income backgrounds tend to graduate at a rate of about 56% but those from the bottom income quadrant at a rate of only 36%.
With graduation rates so low we could argue that most college students would have been better off not enrolling in the first place. This, in fact is the very conclusion of the rapidly increasing pile of college-related stories of regret we encounter every day.
While lower income families must take particular heed, with dismal stats like these it should be obvious that students from all income levels cannot simply wander onto a campus and expect success. We must plan and work diligently for it long before we enroll.
Right or wrong, fair or not, them’s the facts. Let’s make affordology the first lesson of your academic career.