Q: Will three-year degrees help the high numbers of students who start but ultimately drop out of college?
A: We have to get honest with ourselves about attainment. We don't have an access problem; we have an attainment problem. We make dropout rates at college worse because we pay large numbers of unprepared students to go to college. From their perspective, the smartest thing they can do is go to college. They have Pell grants, they have low-interest loans, and they have job prospects that are not promising without a college degree, so what do they have to lose? Lightning just might strike. But of course it doesn't, and many students start failing, get discouraged, and drop out.
Q: The book has been out for a few weeks now. Have you received any significant responses from parents or college students?
A: That's the strange thing about all of this. There are breaks between what people know-which is nothing-and how they act. Families know that college is too expensive, yet they still send their children to expensive schools. People are cautious to come out and support three-year degrees, but especially in response to this book, they are slowly starting to come around.
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