A $5 Million Answer

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges are working together on a new project:

Two of the nation’s largest associations of independent colleges are teaming up in an effort to identify and encourage the best ways to help more students enroll in college and complete their degrees.

Both associations have surveyed their members to identify what programs are already in place. The council is also using a $5-million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to continue successful retention-and-completion programs at 50 institutions.

Attempting to figure out how to get people into college and out with degrees is obviously a worthy and commendable action. The two groups are particularly interested in getting first-generation students to finish college (only about 24 percent of them do now).

But it’s strange that the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges need 50 institutions and $5 million to figure out how to get struggling students to earn college degrees.

Here’s a thought: make college cheaper.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer