The Continuing Case of College Dropouts and the Murky Middle Demographic

One of the most alarming trends in higher education is a growing concern among college administrators nationwide: increasing college dropout rates. Data shows that 40% of newly enrolled first-year college freshmen drop out before graduation. Even students who involuntarily stop going to college for a single semester have only a 30% chance of coming back to finish their degrees. In total, that means nearly 2 million students drop out before earning a diploma.

The Murky Middle

One primary reason for plummeting attendance at colleges nationwide is something experts have dubbed the “murky middle.” The term refers to the demographic of first-year college students with GPAs between 2.0 and 3.0. This group is often overlooked because their grades don’t trigger traditional alerts and limited resources are generally focused elsewhere.

“It’s called the murky middle because in that group of students, a certain number are going to leave and a certain number are going to stay, said Ed Venit, lead researcher for the study. “They aren’t tripping any alarms. They aren’t showing up on anyone’s radar as being particularly at-risk, but some of them aren’t going to come back.”

Students in the murky middle remain in college anywhere from 4.5 to 5.7 semesters before dropping out, further disguising them within the overall student population.

Increasing Graduation Rates with ConexED

As schools across the nation attempt to address the needs of murky middle students, ConexED is ready to help. Using the ConexED platform, educational institutions can increase the engagement between students and support services both in-person and virtually.  By consolidating and streamlining software across campus with ConexED, schools can provide a more positive student experience and gather key insights from enrollment to commencement, and every interaction in between. The convenience of one all-encompassing platform benefits both students susceptible to the murky middle as well as those administrators and faculty hoping to assist them. Request a demo today to find out more about how ConexED makes every student a priority.

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