Phi Beta Cons

America Has Always Had a Rather High College Dropout Rate

In this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call, I discuss the recent paper by Prof. John Thelin, a paper that disproves the notion that there was some golden age in American higher education when nearly all students who enrolled completed their studies and graduated.

High dropout rates were not perceived as any problem (except insofar as it hurt school finances) because educational credentialitis had not set in.

Thelin suggests that dropout rates today are “troubling,” but I can’t see why. We’ve badly oversold higher education. Many of those who drop out are wisely cutting their losses on an expensive credential that probably won’t do them any good.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular


A Home Run by Trump

In 2007, the Justice Department was in disarray. Though it was largely exaggerated, a controversy over the firing of some United States attorneys, the intrusion of politics into Justice Department hiring decisions, and White House contacts with Main Justice forced the resignation of an overmatched attorney ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Donald Trump and the Imperial Presidency

As the writer of a weekly political column in the Age of Trump (ugh), I have lately been wondering if, bereft of an idea, I might just write TRUMP over and over again, 750 times, and get people to read it. An idle thought — perhaps. After all, this was the week when my Twitter timeline was full of mainstream ... Read More