Last year, the four-year graduation rate at the University of Rhode Island was 44 percent, nearly the lowest of any state university in New England. As reported by Journal staff writer Lynn Arditi, only the University of Maine fared worse, at 33 percent. The numbers are even bleaker at Rhode Island College, predominantly a commuter school, where the rate fell to a dismal 13 percent last spring.
High college costs and a struggling economy are both factors. Today, more students must work while attending school, and that can significantly delay graduation. Yet a report released last year by the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment found that almost half of students who begin at any two- or four-year institution do not earn a degree even in six years.
In Rhode Island, where one of the greatest economic challenges is building a more skilled labor force, boosting college-graduation rates is vital. The General Assembly was right to seek data on the issue, and must continue to press for improve