Students who drop out of community college before their second year have cost taxpayers nearly $1-billion annually, says a report released today by the American Institutes for Research.
From 2004 to 2009, the study found, federal, state, and local governments spent almost $4-billion in student aid and appropriations to community colleges that benefited full-time, first-year students who never made it to graduation day.
"There's a lot of institutional failure here," Mark Schneider, who is vice president of the organization and the author of the report, said at a news conference. "We can't keep pouring money into these institutions without figuring out how to make them better."
Less than 20 percent of full-time community-college students receive associate degrees within four years, according to a recent study by Complete College America.
Mr. Schneider said colleges should be held more accountable for getting their students "across the finish line."
The new report follows similar findings, which he presented in August, about the cost to taxpayers of students who drop out of four-year institutions.