Special Report: College Dropouts - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Special Report: College Dropouts

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EAST TEXAS (KYTX) - If you're getting your high school senior ready to head off to college, there is something you  need to know.
According to a Harvard university study, there's about a fifty-fifty chance your kid won't graduate from college.
Tonight, in a CBS 19 Special Report, CBS19's Deja Rollins shows us what parents can do to keep their college student on track to graduation day...

A 2012 Harvard University study of American colleges and universities shows that only 46 percent of students who start college, finish.
The other 54 percent drop out.

With that information in mind, we went looking for answers to two questions: Why aren't college students reaching the finish line, and what can you do to make sure yours does?       

For Letourneau University freshman Haley Holthauser -- making academic and financial ends meet is not easy...
"If it's $100 here or $50 there, it doesn't matter the price is it will all add up eventually."
Holthauser left her home in Southern California to attend Letourneau on a volleyball scholarship.
The business marketing major admits she has hit some breaking points...
She even considered dropping out and going back home.
"I've called my mom crying a couple of times and she's like, 'no you can do this just push through it."

Brooke Kincaid is with Letourneau University's Office of Student Success...
She says for a lot of students, the biggest obstacle is money...
"Financial concerns or loss of scholarship or they can't find a job that works with their current schedule."

The study also points to other factors that create college dropouts...
It says some students are not prepared for the rigors of academic work, nor are they able to cope with the demands of school, family and jobs."
That's why Kincaid recommends that parents get involved and stay involved.
Encourage your child to connect with key faculty on campus.

"I have a meeting once a week with my teachers."
"It's okay to ask for help and be proactive, meet with the appropriate departments early and ask as many questions as they can."
Stress to your college student the importance of managing their time -- both in and out of the classroom.
"People are like, 'oh I'm finally away from home. I can have a social life and do what I want on the hours that I want.'"
Help your student make decisions that could affect their academic track...

You can do that by helping your child research potential majors *before registration.
"Try to find different jobs out there that you might be interested in, and go shadow for a day, or go talk to some people who work there and see what their day-to-day life is like."
you can also encourage your child to seek out students in class who are focused on success -- and follow their lead.
"You want to look at the student in class who's sitting in the front and think that's who I want to sit with because those are the students who are there to focus on their education."
Haley says her parents call at least once a week, asking about her grades and upcoming tests.
In turn, Haley has kept a weekly schedule with her professors.
"Knowing that they are okay with me getting an education and going out of state is a big help for me and it makes me want to work harder for them."

So what is the value of a college degree?
According to the U.S. Census bureau, college graduates in 2010 earned nearly 20-thousand dollars more, per year, than people with only a high school education.
But the amount of student loan debt, in that year, also exceeded the amount of American credit card debt... For the first time in history.
Reporting in Longview-Gregg County, Deja Rollins... KYTX CBS 19 news.

Of 18 countries tracked by the organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the U.S. Came in last in the percentage of students who completed college.

That puts the U.S. behind Japan and former Soviet-bloc countries like Slovakia and Poland.

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