• Higher Education Graduation Rates: Problems, Solutions, and History

      Bowen, Anne (2021-05)
      This thesis explores how higher education graduation rates and student matriculation have affected stakeholders such as donors, students, taxpayers, and both government and nongovernment organization as well as the overall education rate in America. The ongoing implication of higher education graduation barriers is critical and impacting students across the United States. This thesis examines multiple higher education graduation disparities, including socio-economic status, academic preparation, and students’ sense of belong. Additionally, this thesis reflects on how specific predisposed risk factors, educational history, and admissions processes affect the overall student matriculation through end-phase graduation. Throughout history, higher education has used academic undermatching, defined as students’ ability to attend colleges that are less academically selective than those, for which they are academically prepared, and affirmative action or better known as the procedures to try to eliminate discrimination. These actions are unjust and lead to declining graduation rates in the United States. The history behind declining graduation rates includes influence from higher education learning commissions, institutional leadership, and stakeholders, resulting in lack of student success and inadequate understanding. Educational outcomes in the United States have been negatively impacted from the results of declining graduation rates, thus advancing studies to discover the significant 4-year graduation rate gap risk factors and how students’ sense of belonging play a role in earning a higher education degree. This thesis also presents the solutions that institutions, government officials, and researchers are working towards and how students themselves are focusing on participating in activities to advance the graduation rate in the United States