Friday, October 23, 2009

Jobs requiring higher education may outpace number of new grads

Complete College America said 60 percent of Penn State Berks students receive degrees within six years of beginning school.

Graduation rates don't count students who transfer and get degrees from another school.

There are several ways Penn State Berks tries to increase graduation rates, including connecting students with advisers, D'Allegro said.

"Students who are in contact - and it doesn't have to be a favorable exchange - tend to be more connected and tend to be more successful," she said.

Some types of students have lower graduation rates, such as those who are first in their family to attend college.

About half of Penn State Berks students fall into that category, she said.

"We're looking at strategies to keep those students and their families better informed so that they can have more success," D'Allegro said.

Alvernia University is also particularly welcoming of first generation students, as well as adult and working students and others, said Brad Drexler, associate vice president of marketing and communications.

"While our diverse student population tends to not always follow traditional patterns of persistence and graduation, attracting and supported these student populations remains an important part of Alvernia's Franciscan mission and heritage," Drexler said.

The long-term economic growth of Pennsylvania depends on boosting graduation rates for all students, said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America.

"Reform-minded states like Pennsylvania are taking the lead in addressing this," Jones said. "The implications of 'business as usual' are too great not to act."

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