Crossing the Finish Line

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-02-07
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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The United States has long been a model for accessible, affordable education, as exemplified by the country's public universities. And yet less than 60 percent of the students entering American universities today are graduating. Why is this happening, and what can be done?Crossing the Finish Lineprovides the most detailed exploration ever of college completion at America's public universities. This groundbreaking book sheds light on such serious issues as dropout rates linked to race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Probing graduation rates at twenty-one flagship public universities and four statewide systems of public higher education, the authors focus on the progress of students in the entering class of 1999--from entry to graduation, transfer, or withdrawal. They examine the effects of parental education, family income, race and gender, high school grades, test scores, financial aid, and characteristics of universities attended (especially their selectivity). The conclusions are compelling: minority students and students from poor families have markedly lower graduation rates--and take longer to earn degrees--even when other variables are taken into account. Noting the strong performance of transfer students and the effects of financial constraints on student retention, the authors call for improved transfer and financial aid policies, and suggest ways of improving the sorting processes that match students to institutions. An outstanding combination of evidence and analysis,Crossing the Finish Lineshould be read by everyone who cares about the nation's higher education system.

Author Biography

William G. Bowen is president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University. Matthew M. Chingos is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a research associate at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Michael S. McPherson is president of the Spencer Foundation and former president of Macalester College.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prefacep. xiii
Educational Attainment: Overall Trends, Disparities, and the Public Universities We Studyp. 1
Bachelor's Degree Attainment on a National Levelp. 20
Finishing College at Public Universitiesp. 32
Fields of Study, Time-to-Degree, and College Gradesp. 57
High Schools and "Undermatching"p. 87
Test Scores and High School Grades as Predictorsp. 112
Transfer Students and the Path from Two-Year to Four-Year Collegesp. 134
Financial Aid and Pricing on a National Levelp. 149
Financial Aid at Public Universitiesp. 166
Institutional Selectivity and Institutional Effectsp. 192
Target Populationsp. 207
Looking Aheadp. 223
The Modern Evolution of America's Flagship Universitiesp. 239
Notesp. 265
List of Figuresp. 337
List of Tablesp. 347
List of Appendix Tablesp. 349
Referencesp. 357
Indexp. 377
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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