Six Years and No College Degree

New America

Rebekah Haigh
June 1, 2021
More than 36 million Americans can claim some college but no degree. Luke Evans is one of them.[1] In a recent study, Lumina found that more than 47 percent of surveyed adults dropped out of a bachelor’s degree program. Of those with at least two years’ worth of college but no degree, 17 percent of non-completers had enrolled seven years or more prior. With over sixty credits to his name, Evans’ story is not usual. But it illustrates many of the pressures—and some of the solutions—to college attrition.
As a high school student, Evans already started thinking about college. He took a math class at Rochester College, an institution known for welcoming homeschooled students like Evans. Dual enrollment programs can be a great way for high school students to jump-start earning college credits. But about $1000 later, Evans discovered that his local community college wouldn’t accept those credits. Those lost credits still haunt him. “It might have motivated me to finish my bachelor’s degree if I’d been closer to an associate as a sophomore,” says Evans.