U-M Dearborn study: students with some college desire degrees

Could Michigan's best chance to raise the number of its college graduates lay in the present, not the future? Such a question seems likely to have "Yes" for an answer in light of a new survey from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Michigan has 321,000 young adults (ages 25-34) with some college experience but no degree, giving the state the third largest percentage (25.7 percent) in the U.S. Metro Detroit has a similar percentage of young adults that fit this profile (25.3 percent), however, it is the largest percentage of any major metropolitan area of the country.

About 57,000 young adults in this demographic (39 percent) said they are likely or very likely to return to college in the next few years.

"It's a group of people that is just as big as the seniors who graduate from high school in Metro Detroit each year," says Tim Davis, director of iLabs in the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Center for Innovation Research, which conducted the survey.

The survey identifies this group as "stop-outs" and believes it is a target-rich environment for higher education. About 85 percent of these stop-outs already have at least one year of college under their belts and 25 percent have three years.

Stereotypical reasons, time and money, prevent them from finishing. The survey advocates for more flexibility in the higher-education system to make it work for this group.

"We really see these people as potential consumers of higher education," Davis says. "They are easy people to re-enroll in the process."

Source: Tim Davis, director of iLabs in the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Center for Innovation Research
Writer: Jon Zemke
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