Louisiana’s Higher Education System Not Making the Grade
Slack admissions and low graduation rates cost taxpayers an estimated $440 million annually
NEW ORLEANS, La. – A report from the Higher Education Research/Policy Center, released today, claims that more than one third of Louisiana’s higher education funds are wasted on non-graduating students.
Harry Stille Ph. D., author of “Louisiana: Public Institutions,” believes loose admission standards contribute to an estimated $440 million annual waste – an “enormous cost for little results.” Twenty-nine percent of Louisiana’s freshmen come from the bottom half of their high school class, and Stille believes that these unprepared students account for the state’s embarrassingly low graduation rates.
Eight percent of freshmen at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) complete their degree within six years, and the average across the state’s university system is 39 percent. That compares to 54 percent nationally and 53 percent in the South.
Even these numbers may be rosy given grade inflation, which Stille asserts is “rampant on college campuses throughout the United States.” According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the literacy of college graduates in 2003 had fallen from 1992 levels, and the same was true for graduate students.