Taxpayer dollars wasted on college freshman drop-outs - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Taxpayer dollars wasted on college freshman drop-outs

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Iva Radman – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Hundreds of millions of dollars of our tax money are being wasted -- spent on college tuition for students who dropped out.

The American Institutes for Research report claims that more than $200 million in taxpayer funding went to waste because freshman the state invested in never made it to their sophomore year. Depending on the college, it can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 a year to educate one student at one of Virginia's state colleges.

Many of the students defray that expense with grants--funded by taxpayers.  In many cases that investment is not seeing much of a return.

For instance, at Virginia Commonwealth University 15 percent of college freshman using grant funding don't make it to their second year.  The cost to taxpayers is $9 million.

However, VCU is not the worst. At Virginia State University 32 percent of their freshman never become sophomores. At a cost of a little more than $14,000 per student, the total cost is almost $5 million.

The best investment and worst investment is the University of Virginia. The main campus boasts a success rate just shy of perfect – 3 percent -- but their wise campus loses 35 percent of their freshman before the second year.

The total cost over the 5 years this study was conducted is $177 million by the state and $33.7 million by the Federal government. That means total of $211.4 million. Overall Virginia ranked 15th in money spent on freshman who dropped out.  The worst, not surprisingly, were the three biggest states, California, New York and Texas.

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