There is a great table at IES that brings to light why Congress wants to measure graduation rates. It should also force them to look at ALL schools.
Here are the total college graduation rates from the 2008 data collection -
Public College: 53.3%
Private Not-for-Profit: 64.4%
Private For-Profit: 38.1%
Not two shabby until you split out the 4 year vs 2 year degree seekers
4 year degree graduation rates / 2 year degree graduation rates
Public: 54.9% / 22.0%
Private Not-For-Profit: 64.6% / 51.4%
Private For-Profit: 22.0% / 59.7%
Wow - pretty wild stuff. For-profit schools kick butt in the two year programs but are dismal in the four year programs! But public institutions stink at 2 year programs but are solid in the four year programs.
This is not all that surprising. The for-profits started with the two year programs and that is where they excel. Only in recent years have they tackled four year degrees. Maybe the Federal Government should also crack down on Public 2 year schools and their graduation rate!
We have all got to do better. Everyone needs more skin in the game for them to fight to get students to a degree. Supplemental Education Services (or SES) under NCLB would only pay for students who completed the program. While this would adversely affect college standards, if there were a financial penalty for the school for students using student loans who didn't complete in 4 years, it would create a much more efficient system.
Skin in the game would be a total game changer.