Magazine article University Business

Money in, Students Out: Taxpayer Costs of Attrition

Magazine article University Business

Money in, Students Out: Taxpayer Costs of Attrition

Article excerpt

WHAT HAVE U.S. STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS SPENT recently to support four-year college students who left before sophomore year? A whopping $9 billion, according to an American Institutes for Research (www.air.org) analysis of data from 2003-04 through 2007-08. "We really have to think about how much money is being spent on student attrition," says Mark Schneider, an AIR vice president and the former commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, who authored the report. With so many states running out of money and some experimenting with performance budgeting, the analysis is timely, he notes. "We need to change a lot of the funding formulas from seats to productivity."

Broken down by state, the analysis covers only first-time, full-time students, due to data limitations. Combining state appropriations and grants, California leads the list with close to half a billion dollars doled out. Fourteen states spent more than $200 million on students who didn't start a second year at school.

Schneider hopes to see increased institutional accountability for student success. …

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