Why are graduation rates at community colleges so low?

The statistics from many community colleges are grim. Only about 39 percent of students who enter the country’s most accessible postsecondary institutions graduate within six years. A quarter of those who enroll in the fall don’t come back in the spring.

To boost the number of Americans with degrees, President Barack Obama has proposed making community colleges free.Tom Bailey, professor of economics and education and director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, supports the idea, but says it will have limited results if it’s not coupled with significant changes to the colleges themselves.

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