How America Completes College 2024

Understanding what helps students graduate

conducted by Ipsos

View the infographic     Read the news release

Share on X | Share on Linkedin

Join the discussion at #HowAmericaCompletes

Nearly two-thirds of students are “on track” 

“On-track” students are undergraduate students who reported being on a successful path to graduation, never having considered leaving school or being at risk of dismissal.

“At-risk” students are undergraduate students who have seriously considered leaving school or have been at risk of dismissal.

Circular graph showing that 64 percent of students are on track, 24 percent are at risk, and 12 percent considered leaving school.

3 Top Reasons ‘at-risk’ students consider leaving school

Graph showing that 31 percent of students considered leaving school due to financial challenges, 24 percent due to motivation or life changes, and 18 percent due to mental health.

Four-year financial plans boost completion rates

Planning for college, including having a financial plan for all four years, is associated with a higher likelihood of students completing college.

Check out the many resources and tools Sallie Mae offers to help you plan for college. 

Student writing in a notebook.  

Graph showing that 71 percent of college-educated households and 32 percent of first-generation households talked about scholarships.

First-generation students tend to face more challenges

First-generation students are more likely to consider leaving school, work longer hours, and report lower confidence in their career direction compared to students from college-educated households. 

Get scholarships for school

First-generation college students face more difficulties with mental health while in school.

58% found it difficult to prioritize mental health vs. 44% of students from college-educated households.

Four students sitting at a table with laptops and books.

Mental health challenges are a huge concern for students

There is a strong link between mental health and the decision to leave college.  

Only 31% of at-risk students rated their mental health as excellent or good compared with 61% of on-track students

Graph showing that 50 percent of current students rated their mental excellent or good, 35 percent rated it fair, and 15 percent rated it poor or very poor.

Additional resources

Join the conversation with #HowAmericaCompletes

“How America Completes College” reflects the results of an online survey, in English, with 1,029 young adults, ages 18-30, currently enrolled in a 2- or 4-year program, and 427 young adults, ages 18 to 30, who started a 2- or 4-year degree but withdrew before completing the program. The research was conducted between June 2, 2023 and June 26, 2023.