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Special Edition: Less for More

This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. In this week’s special edition, we’re taking a look at the report, Less for More: Low Rates of Completion and High Costs at Connecticut’s Four-Year Colleges, released by our affiliate organization, Education Reform Now CT (ERN CT).

There has been a lot of national coverage this year about the ways that institutions of higher education are preparing students for success and contributing to a crisis of debt. But just how do Connecticut schools fit into this conversation? Yesterday, ERN CT released a report that unpacks data on both the 6-year graduation rates and net prices of Connecticut's four-year colleges, relative to their peers in other states.

The study has received attention across the state because of its implications for both Connecticut students and the economy.

“These outcomes aren’t just about students getting a bad deal for themselves, although that’s obviously a real concern,” Amy says in her Hartford Courant opinion today. “The larger societal problem is that when students take on debt to enroll in higher education programs and then don’t complete those programs, they are left in even worse economic situations than before they started. The compounding effect reverberates throughout our economy.”

Findings in the report suggest some troubling trends:

  1. Several CT colleges have low rates of completion, especially for underrepresented minority subgroups;

  2. Nearly half of CT colleges charge exceptionally high net prices to students from the lowest income families; and

  3. Four CT colleges, public and private, fall into both categories, combining low graduation rates with high net prices for low-income students, relative to national peer institutions.

When students and their families invest time and resources into pursuing higher education, we think they deserve to know those investments are likely to result in meaningful credentials and careers. Don’t you?


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