Monday, August 03, 2015

Some good news, some bad news…and some more bad news

Some good news, some bad news…and some more bad news

Arizona continues to collect recognition for being at the bottom of the education barrel. A recent U.S. Department of Education report announced that in 2013 Arizona tied with Alaska for the dubious distinction of having the lowest college completion rate in the country. Only 29 percent of students completed a four-year degree within six years.  The report stated the national average is 55 percent.

The report also said Arizona students face the highest student loan default rate in the nation. Arizona is at 18 percent compared to the national average of 11 percent. 

While this information is disheartening, digging into the data a little more does provide some positive information.  The overall college completion rate includes students from public, private and for-profit universities. The report lists each separately, and the good news is that Arizona’s public universities have a 57 percent graduation rate – two points higher than the national average. An Arizona Board of Regents spokesperson recently told a reporter that the current completion rate is nearly 60 percent for 2014-2015.

This encouraging news is tempered by reports that all three of Arizona’s public universities are considering layoffs and the University of Arizona is already laying people off after Republicans passed a budget that slashed $99 million from all public universities. Prior to these most recent budget cuts, Arizona universities were already shouldering some of the deepest budget cuts in the nation, while students faced some of the highest tuition hikes.  

Let’s #AskDuceyWhy he expects our public university students, who are currently completing college at rates above the national average, to continue this positive trend amidst university layoffs and tuition hikes.  #AskDuceyWhy he and other Republican leaders are trying to balance the state budget on the backs of students. And let’s #AskDuceyWhy the Republicans won’t invest in higher education now.

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