Report shows students take longer to finish college

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According to a 2012 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report, 60.5 percent of students who started at four-year public institutions completed college within six years.

The report titled “Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates,” incorporated more than 3,500 schools and studied almost 2.4 million records of students as they transferred among schools.

Queens College alumni Carlisle Vaughn was one of many students who had the daunting task of juggling school and work.

“I worked three part time jobs and went to school full-time,” Vaughn said.

The sociology major graduated last semester with a 3.1 grade point average and currently holds two part-time jobs: one, as a security guard for an apartment complex in Harlem and the other as a transportation security officer at La Guardia Airport.

“In total, I worked 59 hours per week while going to school full-time,” Vaughn said.

He graduated a semester late from QC after transferring from the College of Staten Island where he studied nursing for two years.

“I transferred to QC because it was closer to my house. It took me three hours to get to Staten Island on public transportation,” Vaughn said.

He also mentions that he took a year off of school right after he finished his courses at the CSI.

“I wanted to save up for a car plus my financial aid got messed up so I couldn’t afford school at the time,” Vaughn said.

According to the report, in fall of 2006, the most students started out at a four year public institution at 44.2 percent.

“I started my college career at Baruch College,” Janeane Joaquim, 23, said.

At the two years she was at Baruch, her major was undeclared, but she would later transfer to QC with the intent of studying education.

“I transferred to QC because I wanted to study education and it’s the best school for education in the CUNY system,” Joaquim said.

Unlike Vaughn, Joaquim has hardly worked while getting her college education. She currently works at Queens Central Public Library, which she claims is the first real job she has ever had.

The accounting and economics major has been an upper senior for the past year and attributes her slow process to her academic decisions.

“I’m graduating a year late because I transferred and changed majors,” Joaquim said.

Rather than transferring to QC, Efia Lewis who attended the college for five years, decided to transfer to Stony Brook University.

The report finds that a “one in five students who completed a degree — 22.4 percent — did so not at their starting institution, but somewhere else.”

While at QC, Lewis, 23, majored in urban studies with a minor in biology and business and liberal arts.

“I initially transferred to Stony Brook to finish my double major, but I decided to get my master’s degree instead,” Lewis said.

During her time at QC she was an active member of eight clubs and also worked with autistic children in Lido Beach for three years now.

“I worked 30 hours a week and went to school full-time,” the aspiring doctor said.

She is currently pursuing a degree in physiology and biophysics.

The report states that, “among exclusively full-time students, 81 percent completed their first degree or certificate within six years, with 71 percent of them completing at the starting institution and ten percent completing at a different institution.”

The QC campus is filled with diverse students who face different academic situations that for one reason or another, cause students to graduate later than the traditional four years.

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