College Dropout Rates Around The World

If you’ve spent more than 2 days on this blog, you’ll find that I am BIG on education.  I’m all for education as a means of both learning and wealth building.  Traditionally, we have been taught that finishing high school and pursuing a college education is the way to go, but unfortunately, many people do not finish college and instead drop out.

Did you know that the U.S. has the highest college drop out rate in the world?  According to a new study by Fidelity, 70% of the class of 2013 is graduating with an average of $35,000 in college-related debt including federal, state and private loans, credit cards and debt owed to family.  Many college dropouts leave with debt that might be hard to repay.

But why are American students dropping out at rates that are triple that of some Asian countries? Check out the infographic below.

Click to enlarge

Mapping Dropouts Around the World - college - Dropout


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13 thoughts on “College Dropout Rates Around The World

  • I know a lot of my students start college, but drop out because it is harder than they realized and there is pressure from family to help support them. The future for these people is less important since they are in a survival mode. If they could just look further down the road, they would have the ability to earn even more.

    • I left the first school that I attended to move back home to help my family. I chose to continue attending school while taking out loans. An older me would have found an employer who pays for school and finished my schooling that way.

  • I agree with you that education is essential in today’s world. What I am not so convinced of anymore is if college is the route most of us should take in order to attain that education. Maybe the reason the dropout level is so high is because it is not worth the high price anymore and young adults are not realizing this until they are a year or two into college?

    • I agree! I think that we overlook trade and vocational school for sexy office jobs. Nursing, for instance, pays very well – even better with a degree though.

  • Another glaring reason for the high drop out rates in the States is that many countries, European for example, that have an academic track and trade track that identifies those students that are best suited for a trade type career instead of an academic grounded career. The U.S. education system is based largely upon the belief that everyone will attend and be successful in a 4 year College. This simply is not true and the large numbers of student’s dropping out of both High School and College attest to that! We need to invest more in public education to provide more opportunities for all students to explore and receive skills appropriate for what they want to in the future.

    • Amen! College is NOT for everyone. And honestly, some of the classes that I took were a complete waste of my time. I like art, but I didn’t need t take a university level art class as a Biology major.

  • I believe that in the US college is a destination that is “forced upon” many students. Therefore they attend and, heart not in it and not seeing an alignment between their goals / desires and what college would provide, drop out. In Asia, there is a different family / social dynamic at work which explains the low dropout rate. What was not presented is the percentage of students attending college. The US is at roughly 63%, I wonder what other countries are at?

  • In India, going to college is not negotiable. And even if you fail in college, you deal with it and work to get it done. People without degrees are doomed to life time of lowest pay grade. Compared to that I find US very very lax about college. It is a good thing too as not everyone is best fit for a college career.

    The major difference I see is in India student loans are very very rare for undergraduate degrees. It is expected of the son/daughter to go to college and the parents are expected to pay for it.

    The next difference I see that makes an impact is in India we are forced in “professional” degree as much as possible. Professional degrees generally mean degrees that has potential to pay money. Most people go for liberal arts type degrees only as a last choice.

  • A huge difference between most European countries and the US is the cost of education. Without a doubt, many college and even high school students feel at one point burdened by that cost (whether they assess debt they have to acquire or the opportunity cost of attending college) and feel forced to drop out so they alleviate those costs.

  • The cost here is just so much and I think many go to college because of family or not knowing what else to do. I ask several why they are choosing a certain major and many say it looks fun or exciting. Not the best answer when you paying 30-45k per year. I say go to college but whats wrong with a 2 year program. Many leave home then come back because parent need help paying bills, run out of money or just cant make the grades. Oh lets not forget the one that just dont think college is for them.

  • If this trend continues with no solution in sight, United States would be left far behind not only the Europeans – who may already have surpassed America in almost everything – but many Asian countries as well.

    • Absolutely! I don’t think that college is for everyone, yet we keep telling kids that they should all go to college. It’s simply not accurate. Frankly, I’m thankful for my mechanic. When my last car started acting up, he was a life saver.

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