Some College Dropouts Get A Surprise

Career College Central summary:

  • A foundation-funded experiment called Project Win-Win is using data-mining techniques  to track down people who left college early and award them credentials they earned without knowing it. Sixty participating colleges found more than 6,700 students already eligible for an associate degree and about 20,000 who needed no more than 12 credits to finish. So far, the schools have tracked down and awarded associate degrees to more than 4,500 former students.
  • The Institute for Higher Education Policy produced the four-year project at a cost of $2 million with the participating schools, most of which were community colleges. The schools improve their graduation rates, and the students have a shot at higher earning potential.
  • According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, U.S. workers over the age of 25 earned median annual wages of about $62,000 with associate degrees in 2010, while those with some college but no degree earned about $44,000.
  • To find candidates for the program, the schools searched their records for students who had left without a degree but met certain guidelines, such as completing between 45 and 60 credits while maintaining a minimum grade-point average. Once students passed through those filters, school officials passed them on to the National Student Clearinghouse, which verifies students' degree attainment, to see if any students had moved on to other schools to finish their degrees.

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