Don’t blame the kids

A recent survey says adults place blame for poor graduation rates on students.

Daily Editorial Board

College students need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in order to graduate on time. ThatâÄôs the sentiment expressed by 70 percent of American adults in a recent survey commissioned by the Associated Press and Stanford University. When asked how much blame students share for low graduation rates at four-year public universities, most respondents answered “a great deal” or “a lot.”

Blaming students is an easy way to overlook the substantial obstacles to graduation in a tough economy.

In Minnesota and across the country, public schools have seen a sharp drop in state support since 2006.

Less state support means higher tuition. The University of Minnesota climbed from $8,040 in 2005 to $11,094 in 2010. As the price tag grows, students work longer hours and take fewer classes per semester as they attempt to avoid the crushing average $26,000 in student debt carried by Minnesota graduates.

Less state aid also means classes are cut. The College of Liberal Arts âÄî the UniversityâÄôs largest âÄî had 145 classes canceled when the latest University budget was passed this summer, making it more difficult for students to graduate on time.

In spite of these challenges, the graduation rate at the University has actually grown by 14 percent over the past decade, with more than 70 percent of students finishing a degree in six years or less.

Students are persevering, despite lack of support from the political and educational institutions.