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Think Tank Aims to Assess College Outcomes

July 19, 2017

A new report from Third Way, a centrist think tank, attempts to measure higher education's performance across sectors and types of institutions. The group used federal data on completion, students' earnings six years after enrollment and loan repayment rates. The report features aggregate figures for four-year institutions, community colleges and certificate-granting institutions, with breakouts by sector.

Findings from the report include:

  • At 85 percent of four-year institutions, at least half of students who used federal aid were able to earn more than the typical high school graduate six years after enrollment. However, at 222 four-year colleges, the majority of students earned less than high school graduates.
  • At 59 percent of community colleges, most students are earning less than $25,000 per year six years after first enrolling.
  • At roughly a quarter of four-year institutions, more than half of students fail to begin repaying their loans three years after attending college.

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