College graduation proves difficult for several Burbank Unified students
While graduating from high school and enrolling in college is trying enough, the real tribulation for some Burbank Unified students appears to be earning a post-secondary degree.
Fewer than 40% of Burbank Unified students from the graduating classes of 2011 and 2012 who enrolled in either a community college or university received a degree within six years, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse.
The average for 2011 was 33%, and the average rose to 38% for the class of 2012.
From the 2011 class of 1,248 graduates, 415 earned a degree from a two- or four-year institution within six years.
Of that total, 330 received degrees from a four-year university and 85 were given degrees from a community college.
The report also states that 359 of those degrees were obtained within the state.
From that 2011 group, 13.5% never attended college, while 29.2% dropped out of college.
The 2012 group included 404 degrees from a university and 99 from a community college.
Also, 457 degrees were obtained in California.
Those statistics come despite more Burbank Unified students enrolling for a post-high school education.
Since 2011, 74% of Burbank Unified students enrolled in two- or four-year institutions immediately following their senior year, while that number rose to 82% within the first two years of high school graduation.
Burbank Unified also posted a “persistence” rate of 92% among its students, meaning a majority of students who enrolled for a freshman year returned to school for a second year.
However, the statistic also means that most Burbank Unified students who drop out leave school after their freshman year.
“We see that data nationwide of students that are not able to get out of community college and into a four-year [university] or they’re not getting the courses in community college, so it’s dragging on,” Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill said.
Hill added, “In the four-year universities, you’re seeing a lot of students at [Cal State universities] as well as [universities of California] and they’re not making it to that junior year. They’re paying a lot of debt, and they’re not finishing with that diploma.”
Persistence has also led to an increase in degrees awarded past the traditional four-year period.
From the 2007 class, 10% of Burbank Unified students graduated in five years, while 5% received a college degree in six.
The most recent class with six years of data, the class of 2012, posted five-year graduation rates of 11% and six-year rates of 7%.
“One of the key items I would like for the public and the community to really look at is the number of students that are graduating in six years is going up,” said John Paramo, the district’s director of secondary education.
“They are being persistent, they are continuing and we’re seeing that number rise,” he added.
In terms of collegiate choice, Glendale Community College was the No. 1 school for Burbank Unified students as 1,558 have enrolled there since 2011, while Pasadena City College (968) and Los Angeles Valley College (813) finished second and third, respectively.
Cal State Northridge topped the four-year universities, with an enrollment of 683 Burbank Unified students, while UC Irvine was the top UC school, with 165 students.
Woodbury University was the top private school, with 39 students.