Thursday, February 9, 2012
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma has long had college students who leave campus before finishing their degrees. They leave to take jobs in order to support families, they get behind in studies and don’t see a way out, or they just need a break. Additionally, some students are pushed into university studies before they are ready.
Dropping out is acceptable by many. It’s a mindset many Oklahomans have that having some college hours is nearly as good as finishing a degree. Many entry-level jobs advertise “some college” preferred.
Oklahoma’s Chancellor of Higher Education Glen Johnson and Gov. Mary Fallin hope to boost the number of college degrees handed out over the next 12 years.
Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Fallin want to count an additional 20,400 college graduates and certificates. Recruitment of students seems to be the easy part, as Oklahoma has enjoyed record enrollments over the past few years. (The troubled economy often sends many back to school.)
It’s the retention and graduation that are troublesome. To that end, the state is participating in national programs called Complete College America and Reach Higher. Each encourages students to finish.
Indeed, graduation rates are one of many measures lawmakers and others are looking at when reviewing colleges. Schools are facing increasing scrutiny from parents, too, who want to make sure their college tuition and fee payments are likely to end up with a degree.