income disparities between those who have a college degree and those who don’t have been growing bigger and bigger for decades. But college graduation rates in the United States have slowed down, especially among kids from low-income families. As recently as in the mid-1990s, the United States had the highest college graduation rate in the world. Today, its rank has slipped to No. 12, in large part because college costs have skyrocketed.
It’s no surprise, then, that more students rely on community colleges as a way to save money: 1.7 million students enroll each year, and about 80 percent say they want to go beyond earning an associate’s degree or a vocational certificate by finishing with a college diploma in their hands. In the 2013-14 academic year, at least 46 percent of all students who earned college diplomas went to community colleges, and a new report published on Tuesday found that some states do a much better job than others at getting their students to graduate.