A new report shows the number of freshmen dropping out of Iowa’s colleges has decreased for the third straight year. The report by Iowa City-based A-C-T Incorporated says nearly 26 percent of the freshmen at two and four-year colleges failed to return for their sophomore year in 1999. A-C-T spokesman Kelley Hayden says college retention programs could be the reason for the continued decrease in dropouts. He says the robust state economy has a mixed impact on the dropout rate, as some students are tempted to drop out to get jobs, while others can afford to stay in school due to the good economy.Hayden says there isn’t much difference between public and private colleges when it comes to dropouts.The A-C-T report also shows students who elect to stay in school are taking longer to get their degree. Hayden says the number of students who earn degrees in five years has dropped to an all-time low of 51-point-six-percent.Hayden says more students are now going to college straight from high school and they aren’t prepared. He says those students need to take extra courses to meet academic requirements and that lengthens their stay in college.
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