In February, I wrote an article about the graduation rates at our community colleges and universities. I pointed out that they are near the bottom of national rankings. ABC 15 did a story focusing on Arizona State University’s four-year graduation rate of 28 percent.
An ASU spokeswoman argued in the news story there is not a problem with dropouts, but with the statistics, saying “The idea of four-year graduation rate, it doesn’t take into account over half of the students that go to college.”
The federal government, not the Goldwater Institute, collects the statistics cited. In fact, the universities themselves enter the data into the federal database. Furthermore, the statistics cited only take into account students who had a full class schedule and were seeking an undergraduate degree.
The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.” This self-reported data reveals a disturbing lack of competence in what ought to be ASU’s core mission as a public university: educating and graduating students.
Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute.
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