By Christopher Freeman
CCC Journalism Program

Blackwood — It is now acceptable for students to go to college for more than two or four years.

“Students should be in school for as long as it damn takes them.” Cheryl Tracewski, a mother of three, said. “As they are making progress in their education, they make progress towards the future”

According to a 2006 study by the National Center for Education Statistics IES, about 56 percent of students get their bachelor’s degree in six years.

Students today are taking longer to finish their degrees. There are a wide range of factors such as the ease of getting student loans.

There is more pressure on students to finish college with their degree so they can get a better job. This pressure is pushing people who normally would drop out to continue their education.

An extra year or two is becoming the norm.

A recent study from IES shows 13 percent of students in 1995 were enrolled in college a year longer than students five years earlier.

“These findings indicate that students who had not earned a degree were more persistent in staying enrolled, but required more than five years in their efforts to complete a degree,” the website ces.ed.gov said. “Among students who began in public two-year colleges, students were more likely than their counterparts who enrolled six years earlier to be enrolled in a 4-year institution. This result suggests that community college students in the later cohort were more persistent in maintaining their enrollment toward a bachelor’s degree than their counterparts who enrolled six years earlier.”

Percentage of students who stayed an extra year in school compared to 1990. Data provided by NCES.edu.gov

Colleges can charge students extra years of tuition.

Matt Rehn a former BCC student said, “Some kids have a rough time and need to complete things outside of college so it takes them longer. Others have specific majors that require you to get into small classes that fill up fast.”

“It is also possible the economy played a role in changing student’s behavior. With fewer job opportunities and greater debt these students may have been less likely to take a break from their studies and leave without a degree,” according to Nces.ed.gov

Debt becomes a major issue, especially concerning four year institutions. Some students already are in excess of $40,000 in debt.

An extra year of college will just push that number higher. What students decide to do after college is dependent on that debt.

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