College Dropout Statistics and Causes for Increasing Numbers of Dropouts

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The recently growing rates of college and high school dropouts have caused an alarm among the social authorities. This situation is of major concern to higher authorities as the future of whole society depends on the youth of the society and after spending so much on the education and molding the youth to take over their place as future leaders of the world, this increasing rate of college drop outs feels like all efforts of the higher authorities are going to waste. Many researchers have focused their efforts on finding the causes and reasons for students opting to leave studies instead of aiming for higher educational qualifications and the underlying factors that lead these young adults to give up education which shall become their precious possession in the job market securing a good job and consequently a good place in the society.

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College Dropout Statistics

Comparing the rates of dropouts in 2007, 16.0% of persons between 16 and 24 years of age (nearly 6.2 million people) were found to be high school dropouts in US. Among these dropouts, 60.1% were men, 18.8% were Black, and 30.1% were Hispanic. Nearly one in five U.S. men between the ages of 16-24 (18.9%) were dropouts in 2007. Nearly three out of 10 Hispanics were dropouts (27.5%), including recent immigrants. More than one of five Blacks had dropped out of school (21%) as against a dropout rate for Whites of 12.2%.  A state wise study showed more than one in ten 16 to 24 years had dropped out of high school in all of 12 states surveyed with California having the highest dropout count of 710,000 equals to 14.4 % of drop outs among 16 to 24 age group and Georgia having the highest dropout in comparison of population at 22.1%. The total dropout rates for students in terms of race/ ethnicity in 2007 are 12.2 for White, 21% for Black, 27.5 for Hispanic and 10.7 for other ethnic groups. (Source: Report conducted by Center for labor Market studies)

The Taxes annual report conducted by Texas education agency reported 43, 808 dropouts in the year 2007 comprising of 5% African American, 4.4 % Hispanic, 1.5% white and 1.2 % other (Johnson). The 2007-08 dropout rates was calculated using the National Center for Education Statistics dropout definition. According to the NCES definition, a dropout is defined as a student who is enrolled in public school but does not return to public school the following fall, is not expelled, and does not graduate or receive a General Education Development (GED) certificate, continue school outside the public school system, begin college, or die.

Causes of Dropout

An in depth analysis of the current situation results in the identification of causes or factors responsible for increasing numbers of college dropouts are summarized as follows:

Non interest in studies: Mostly students dropout of colleges as they are not interested in education in the first place. Be it that they are not in the field of their choice having pushed by parents to join this college. Be it their own incapability to understand the subjects that they are studying and the mounting pressure of studies. Be it bad company of friends that do not let the student take active interest in their studious activities. The main cause becomes the non interested attitude that leads the student to a point where he thinks that he can’t cope with the pressures of study and gives up his studies.
Poverty and need for employment: Another important factor that hinders a student from completing their studies and earning their degree is their financial condition. These students do not come from a wealthy background and often have to support their families from an early age. In this case affording the college tuitions becomes a problem for these students. Even if they get into colleges through scholarship or other means, it is not possible for them to balance their job and studies together and after some time they find they are struggling between a tight rope trying to work and study at the same time, As job is more important for their survival they eventually give up their studies. Students of low-income families were six times more likely to leave school than students of high-income families (Hopkins).
Disturbed or broken homes: One more significant reason for students becoming college dropouts are their family backgrounds. Many students come from disturbed homes or divorced single parents. The problems that these children have faced during childhood has a life long impact on their personality and their studies making them take refuge in activities like drugs to escape the recollections of their troubled past and leave studies.
Racial/ Ethnic discrimination: Racial or Ethnic discrimination is also emerging to be a cause for college dropouts. Usually students get low moral and frustrated with constant discriminated behavior that they experience at the hands of other students. The situation sometimes becomes so intense that the hostile attitudes of other students compel them to drop out of college. A multitude of additional factors — including the ability to communicate in English and geographic region of residence — have a correlation to dropout rates too (Hopkins).

Co-relation between causes of dropout

A definite co relation exists among the main causes of college dropouts as usually some or many of these factors may be inter related creating a scenario that causes the student to abandon his studies. Some times financial crisis may be due to family disruptions and broken home where a single parent income is not enough to support the family and the student may be forced to find a job and leave his studies unfinished. At other times non interest in studies may stem from racial discriminations experienced by foreign students or the non interest may be due to family background. Students who are not well integrated into their departmental communities and cultures are more likely to leave graduate school for other reasons; for example, poorly integrated students are less likely to put up with financial hardship (Lovitts).  All these causes are linked to each other and form a chain to lead the student away from studies. Efforts are required by educators to develop student interest in studies for reducing college dropout rates. In order to engage students in school in productive ways, and in order to help them develop into caring, moral adults, educators need to engage those students in caring relations within schools (Noddings)

Works Cited

Hopkins G., Who are today’s school dropouts? Education World, 2006,  <>

Johnson R.L., Texas Dropout Counts Using the National Center for Education Methods Decline from 2006-07 to 2007-08,


“Left Behind: The Nation’s Dropout Crisis “ Center for Labor Market Studies, May 5, 2009, <>

Noddings N., The challenge to care in schools: an alternative approach to education (New York, Teachers College Press), 1992.


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College Dropout Statistics and Causes for Increasing Numbers of Dropouts. (2016, Sep 21). Retrieved from

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