U.S. College Dropout Rate and Dropout Statistics

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U.S. college dropout rate and other dropout statistics answer the question, why do students dropout of college?

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The infographic below uses the U.S. college dropout rate and other dropout statistics to answer the following questions:

  1. How many students dropout of college every year?
  2. Why do students dropout of college?
  3. Does dropout rate vary by gender?
  4. How much more does a college graduate make than a high school graduate?

Find data about college dropout rates and more below.


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College Dropout Rate and Other Statistics

  • 56% of college students who started at a 4-year college drop out by year 6 of their college career.
  • Full-time students are 55% less likely to drop out of college than students who go to school exclusively part-time.
  • Students who start college before turning 20 have a 13-22% lower chance of dropping out than those who start college after turning 20.
  • 70% of Americans will study at a 4-year college, but less than 2/3 will graduate with a degree.
  • 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year of college.
  • On average, a college dropout earns 35% or $21,000 less each year than a college graduate.
  • Being unable to balance school, jobs, and family is cited as one of the top reasons for dropping out of college.
  • 40% of college dropouts have parents who do not have a degree higher than a high school diploma.
  • Those without a college degree are 2X more likely to be unemployed than those with a college degree.
  • A study showed that children from low-income households were 7.6X less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than those from well-off households.
  • A male with a college degree earns approximately $900,000 more in gross median lifetime earnings than a male high school graduate.
  • A female with a college degree earns $630,000 more in gross median lifetime earnings than a female high school graduate.
  • According to a six-year study, about 20% more men drop out of college than women.
  • A college degree has a higher return on investment for a graduate in the United States than in any other nation.
  • More than 75% of students who are required to take remedial college classes never graduate.

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