It’s time for a bigger commitment

DKS Editors

Many of us entered college a few years back full of piss and vinegar, ready to do our best to enjoy ourselves at Kent State while still earning a degree. For some, that day of entering college isn’t as far back — just a year or two ago.

But while the day we arrived at Kent State may be different, our ultimate goal was likely the same: graduate within four years.

Unfortunately, that goal is hard to obtain for many college students. Many, because of financial or other reasons, end up dropping out of college before they ever get a chance to walk at graduation.

In fact, only about half — 51 percent, to be exact — of Ohio college students graduate within six years. And it’s not just Ohio, either. College graduation rates are low nationwide.

Low graduation rates are a shame, considering the financial benefits of getting a college degree. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to get good jobs with just high school diplomas. College degrees are necessary, but a lot of students don’t even get those.

Coming to the rescue is Complete College America, an alliance of Ohio and 16 other states attempting to fix low graduation rates across the country. The alliance officially launched in March, and it will meet for the first time in May to set state goals and create reporting systems.

We’re glad to finally see an organization that is focused on such an important problem. Low graduation rates are nothing new — they’ve been a problem for years, and it seems there hasn’t been a huge movement to fix that until now.

Ohio’s involvement with the alliance goes along with Chancellor Eric Fingerhut’s plan for higher education, which he announced two years ago.

The plan’s goals include graduating more people, keeping them in Ohio after graduation and attracting more talented people to the state. And while Fingerhut says there has been progress with those goals, it’s good to see help in the form of the state alliance.

But we’d also like to see more of a nationwide movement to make raising graduation rates a higher priority.

The alliance is nice, but it includes just 17 states. That’s just one-third of the country. What about the other two-thirds?

We’d like to see that kind of commitment from those states because graduation rate problems aren’t limited to just 17 states.

And we’d also like to see someone step in to fix some of the problems that cause most students to drop out. For example, it’d be nice if more grants and low-interest loans were available for college students. Until those problems are fixed, students will still be dropping out of college at high rates.

We’re glad to see someone stepping up to fix the problem of graduation rates. We just want to see a major commitment to fix this major problem.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent State editorial board.