Low Graduation rate from kids from Middle Class Families

People often talk about the shrinking middle class and increase of income inequalities. One main problem that leads to these issues it the college graduation rates of kids coming from middle class families. In today’s world a college degree is practically a pre-requisite to end up in the middle class so the lack of a degree lessons the likelihood that these kids stay in the middle class. No matter how you measure this statistic all reports show that less than half of kids from the middle class ($46,000-$99,000) graduate from college. Many of these kids are dropouts but economists are not sure the reasoning behind this high rate. The exact statistics say that only 40% of these kids graduate meaning that 60% do not. If we want to keep the middle class strong the first place to look is making sure that more of these kids get a degree.

So why do members of upper class family’s graduate college at such a higher rate than members of middle class families? There is no hard evidence for any conclusions about answers to this question; however, you would have to think that the support system plays a huge role. It is far more likely that kids in middle class families have problems at home than kids of upper class families. This has to play a factor especially in the dropout rates in for these two groups.



3 thoughts on “Low Graduation rate from kids from Middle Class Families

  1. MattReeves17

    I found the information provided in this article very shocking. With such a great incentive to finish college and receive a degree, I’m very confused as to why 60% of the middle class do so. I would have expected this to be a much lower percentage. As stated in the article, a college degree is almost completely necessary for entry into the middle class. This makes my wonder what factors may lead to this great percentage of students dropping out, whether they be troubles at home, lack of motivation, or many other unknown factors.

  2. Victor Matheson

    Well, one obvious reason for the high dropout rate is the high price of college. Tens of thousands of dollars of tuition along with the opportunity cost of not being able to work full time is a much more difficult pill for a family to swallow at $50k a year in family income than at $250k.

  3. jackcurran7

    Agreeing with Professor Matheson, the first reason that came to my mind for this dilemma is that middle class kids will certainly have to take out loans (unless on academic/sports scholarships), in which case, they weigh the opportunity cost of going to college. If they can get an average paying job out of high school instead of going to college, they will save boatloads of money on future loans. If they decide to go to college, maybe the degree helps them make more money in the long-term. But if they already have an idea of what they want to do, and it doesn’t require a college degree, they are smart to play it safe and not make a long-term, expensive investment in going to college.


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