Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parents want higher graduation rates

Got an email from AEI today on a new study they are releasing - direct from the email:

"In their new research study, Filling in the Blanks, AEI's Andrew P. Kelly and Mark Schneider used an experimental survey to test whether providing graduation-rate information affects the way parents choose between two public, four-year colleges in their state. The study found that providing graduation-rate information for two similar colleges increased the probability that parents would choose the institution with the higher graduation rate by 15 percentage points.

Perhaps most importantly, the information had a large and significant effect on parents with less education, lower incomes, and less knowledge of the college application process. More advantaged and better-informed parents, meanwhile, did not significantly change their preferences in response to graduation rates."

I wish this was an ongoing study because I believe the economy is going to have a significant impact on this number.  College costs have sky-rocketed and parents savings have been hit - so the six year plan is really off the table now.  With our daughters, I was really impressed with first year retention as well - schools that brag about the support they give with the results gave me a very high comfort level that they wanted the kids to succeed.
It's time for the 6 year plan to end with solid AP, early college, online gen eds and efforts by schools to help students succeed.  Nice to see data to support that parents are becoming actual consumers when it comes to higher education.