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College Drop Out Rates

American College Test (ACT), Inc. is one of the only organizations that collect and reports national graduation data. The following table demonstrates the national dropout rate across type of institution, degree and control factors. The dropout rates represent the number of individuals who dropped out of higher education institutions between their freshman and sophomore year:


Highest Degree Level/Control No. Mean %

The focus of this cause and effect analysis will be students who dropout from BA/BS public and private institutions. The dropout rate average for both types of BA/BS institutions is approximately one in three students. This analysis will now look at three primary reasons why students dropout of college: 1) alcohol/substance abuse; 2) pregnancy; and 3) economics/ethnicity. A conclusion will address some recommendations to help lower the number of students dropping out of college.

One of the greatest causes contributing to the student dropout rate is alcohol/substance abuse. Alcohol/substance abuse is rampant among today’s college students with an increasing number of fatalities resulting from individuals who indulge in binge drinking. Binge drinking has been labeled by the media and health professionals as an epidemic on college campuses. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a row for males and four or more for women at one time (College 1). According to the Higher Education Center, approximately “one-third of American colleges can be classified as ‘high-binge’ schools, where more than half of the student body are binge drinkers” (College 1). Findings demonstrate that college life appears to encourage excessive use of alcohol/substances. A study reported in the Journal of American College Health found that “the percentage of abstainers decline with each year (29% for freshman to 9% for seniors), whereas heavy drinking increa...

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College Drop Out Rates. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:27, February 18, 2019, from