Why and How We Should All Be Concerned About College Student Retention

The degree to which college students are capable of successfully moving from matriculation to graduation, described as “retention” or “persistence,” should be a concern for all of us.  Employers regularly complain that the skills needed for the workplace are lacking.  Policy wonks lament the declining ratio of productive workers to retirees, now about three to one, down drastically from decades ago – an ominous threat to the solvency of the Social Security system, as well as the viability of the economy and the health care system.

College Retention is Everyone’s Challenge

For generations past, graduation from high school was adequate and more or less guaranteed employability at a living wage. College was for the rich and otherwise privileged minority on their way to a business or professional career, and to continued advantage. That division of labor, well-suited to...