Even though my son has shown absolutely no interest in colleges (except for their football programs) I have been looking at the possibilities. Given that we can expect to qualify for zero financial aid and finding myself leaning toward small, private schools, I’ve started thinking about is it really worth it to spend $30,000 a year to send him to one school over another. I realize that my primary concern is that he actually graduates. Now try finding graduation rates on college websites.
But I did find the Education Trust website. This site allows you to search for colleges based on various parameters including graduation rates. So if you enter a search for colleges that have a 75% or higher graduation rate within six years, you’ll get a list of 170 colleges that meet the criteria. Of those colleges, five are in Texas:
Rice University – 89.9%
Southwestern University – 78.2%
Texas A & M – 77.3%
Austin College – 75.6%
The University of Texas at Austin – 75.1%
No wonder people are upset up the top ten percent rule. It’s either UT or A&M in terms of getting your kids into a public school from which you have a reasonable expectation that will graduate.
Now I understand about self-selection and the problems associated with the other public universities and that you get as a good of an education as you want no matter where you go. And ultimately, if the other schools get some of the students that would have previously gone to UT Austin, their graduation rates can be expected to rise. But given the amount of money that students, parents, and the state of Texas (although it has been decreasing dramatically over the past few years) pay for higher education combined with our low ranking in the number of college graduates, shouldn’t we be looking at how to keep more students in school to graduate? I don’t think you’re going to solve this through tuition de-regulation.