The Chronicle of Higher Education says only 29 percent of Missouri students who enroll in college will finish their degree within four years. State higher education commissioner David Russell says state figures show 34 percent of students enrolling full-time finish in four years. The six year measurement, which Russell says is more realistic, shows about half of the students get their bachelor’s degree. The federal study says it’s 54 percent.
Russell says it takes some students longer because they haven’t made a career decision when they start and decide late or change majors–all of which might take more time. And some take lighter credit loads because they have to work more than past students to pay the increasing costs of college.
He says students who experiment a lot before they make a career decision often have to back up to get the sophisticated courses they need for today’s for fields such as information technology and health-related professions—which extends their time in college.
Russell says for students who know the career they want, who are able to enroll fulltime and take a full course load, it is still possible to graduate in four years. But he says that’s a lot of variables.