As students and their families make increasingly larger investments in higher education, institutions that can demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the education they provide have a powerful brand message. A faster path to graduation means a faster (and bigger) ROI.
I was lucky enough to graduate a semester early and, among plenty of questionable ones, it was the best decision I made in college. Walking in 3.5 years meant less student debt and a head start on the job hunt (and loan payments).
For the majority of my fellow academics, though, graduating early – or even within the traditional four years – is not an option. Consider that “only 50 of more than 580 public four-year institutions [in the United States] graduate a majority of their full-time students on time.”
Granted, many students knowingly tack on additional time by switching academic majors or transferring to new schools – not to mention grades can cause a bump in the road. But it’s not always the students’ fault. I know engineering students who, in their fifth year, are still trying to find an open senior capstone course.
Time Money recently ranked the top 25 colleges having the fastest graduation rates. There’s plenty of room for improvement.
With college costs and student debts continuing to balloon, and with campuses boasting similar experiences and amenities, a graduation rate that shows a reasonable chance of graduating early or on time can make the difference for many families.
This generation of college students – my generation – is taking a different approach to education. The savviest institutions will make sure their brands speak directly to us.