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.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.