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Why Does College Take so Long These Days?

American college students, particularly male students, have been slower and slower to finish college over the past 30 years. A new working paper by John Bound, Michael F. Lovenheim, and Sarah Turner suggests the trend is due to rising costs of education. Demographics and academic preparedness don’t explain the trend, but the authors found?evidence in support of the increasing cost hypothesis: both increasing student-faculty ratios and cohort size are linked to increasing time-to-degree, particularly in “non-top 50 public sector” schools. The authors also found that students are working more hours in response to rising costs. Low-income students and students at less-selective institutions are particularly vulnerable to the trend. (HT: Chris Blattman)[%comments]