Why Aren’t Students Showing Up For College? : NPR

According to research from Harvard, between 10% and 40% of the kids who intend to go to college at the time of high school graduation don’t actually show up in the fall. Education researchers call this phenomenon “summer melt,” and it has long been a puzzling problem.

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According to research from Harvard, between 10% and 40% of the kids who intend to go to college at the time of high school graduation don’t actually show up in the fall. Education researchers call this phenomenon “summer melt,” and it has long been a puzzling problem.

S_e_P_p/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Every year, many students who have overcome daunting obstacles in high school receive good news — they’ve been accepted to college.

These kids represent a success story: through hard work and determination, they’ve made into college, and perhaps even on to a better life.

Except it doesn’t always work out that way.

“The rate with which kids who are college-intending do not actually get to college in the fall is surprisingly high,” says Lindsay Page, an education researcher at Harvard. “In one sample that we looked at in the Boston area, we find that upwards of 20% of kids who at the time of high school graduation say that they’re continuing on to college — about 20% of those kids don’t actually show up in the fall.”

Researchers call this phenomenon “summer melt” — and for universities, it has long been a puzzling problem. Because these are the kids…

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