Finishing the First Lap: The Cost of First Year Student Attrition in America's Four Year Colleges and Universities

Finishing the First Lap: The Cost of First Year Student Attrition in America's Four Year Colleges and Universities

Between 2003 and 2008, state and federal governments spent more than $9 billion to support students at four-year colleges and universities who left school before their sophomore year, a new report from the American Institutes for Research finds. Using data from the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the report, Finishing the First Lap: The Cost of First-Year Student Attrition in America's Four-Year Colleges and Universities (23 pages, PDF), found that states appropriated approximately $6.2 billion to colleges and universities to help pay for the education of students who did not return for a second year. The report also found that states and the federal government awarded more than $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion in grants, respectively, to students who did not return for a second year. Government spending on students who dropped out before their second year was highest in California, Texas, and New York.