BA Completion Rates by Parents’ Income and Educational Legacy, 2017

The experiences of a student’s parents often has a major impact on his or her educational pathways. The two charts below illustrate that the ability of students to complete a BA is inextricably connected to their parents’ earnings and their prior education.

In Exhibit 1, we see that less than half of students from low-income families who start full-time at a four-year public institution graduate within six years of commencing their studies. Comparatively, 79 percent of affluent students do the same.

In Exhibit 2, we see almost the same data for educational legacy; that is, based on the highest level of education of at least one of the parents. For students whose parents earned a high school diploma (or equivalent) as their highest level of education, 47 percent earned their BA within six years. And for those with a doctorate or equivalent, 79 percent of students graduated.

Income and legacy matters greatly as it impacts the educational expectations and opportunities along the pathway. See this Swail Letter for more.