For years now, U.S. educators have invested massive amounts of talent and money on two goals: preventing students from dropping out of high school and increasing the percentage of high school graduates who go on to college.
We do everything possible to encourage college attendance. In the 2011-12 academic year, for example, one program alone—the federal Pell Grant program, intended to help low- and moderate-income students finance college—cost taxpayers $34.5 billion, about half the entire U.S. Department of Education budget.
Yet many Pell Grant recipients never graduate. They flounder; they drop out; they become statistics.
How can we prevent such waste?