Surveys Show 1/3 of Freshmen Don't Become Sophomores at the Colleges They Started At

October 4, 2010

It was great news to read a new column by USA Today’s Kim Painter.    She is writing a new series of advice and insights columns for the USA Today.   Last week she compiled some good insights in a second article that focused on issues near and dear to all parents – student success.

You can read the entire article here or see some highlights regarding the persistence of college students are particularly alarming below. There are many reasons why students do not return to college, but some of those highlighted below are risks that can be insured against through GradGuard’s tuition refund insurance.

Tuition insurance does not provide a refund to students who voluntarily withdrawal from college or just drop out.  Tuition insurance is not drop out insurance, but it does provide a reasonable way for families to protect the investment they are making in not just tuition, but room, board, academic fees and even travel to campus.   Not all tuition insurance is as comprehensive as GradGuard’s but we recommend that each parent not only consider what will help there student succeed, but also insure against the unexpected case of mono, injury, disability through purchasing GradGuard’s tuition refund insurance.


“By Kim Painter, USA TODAY – A couple million sets of U.S. parents just realized a dream: They sent sons and daughters off to colleges. Most immediately set their sights on a new dream: attending graduation ceremonies at those colleges. But right about now, some are getting the first clues that might not happen.

A few know it won’t — because their kids have already dropped out. “I had a student leave the first week,” says Marcus Hotaling, a psychologist who directs the counseling center at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. FRESHMEN YEAR: May be harder on parents than students THE TURKEY DROP: Some want to call college quits by Thanksgiving.

…..”It does happen,” says Marjorie Savage, parent program director at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. In fact, surveys by ACT (the non-profit company behind the ACT test) show one-third of freshman do not become sophomores at the colleges where they started. ACT doesn’t track how many students drop out in less than a year, transfer to another school or return later. But just under half get degrees from the colleges where they first enrolled (within three years for associate degrees or five years for bachelor’s degrees). “The numbers are dreadful, and the freshman year is key,” says James Boyle, president of College Parents of America in Arlington, Va.

That might strike panic into parents already getting distress signals:

Also at high risk: students who came to school with a disability or a mental illness such as depression. Hotaling recalls one bright young man with a form of autism who came 3,000 miles and “didn’t last the semester because he couldn’t handle the social aspects.” And sometimes leaving is the right thing, he says. But, often, parents can help students stay put, without jumping in and taking over. “Stay in touch and provide coaching,” Boyle says. Remind students that academic advisers, counselors and others are there to help, he says. Encourage students to get involved in campus clubs, teams and activities, Savage says. “Typically, if you give them a few weeks, they are going to adjust,” Hotaling says. But, he adds, if you are concerned about safety — and, especially, suicide — don’t hesitate to call the campus counseling center and ask for help. ”


Thanks again for the keen insights by USA Today’s Kim Painter.   Kim is worth book-marking and reviewing her commentary again in the near future.   At some point, it may even warrant returning to the ACHA study that GradGuard has quoted before that illustrate the high probability of unexpected incidents that can interfere with a students college education.     Until then, thank you for helping make the case for why tuition insurance is a prudent investment for nearly all college families.

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