According to an article published in March of 2012 by Reuters called Why college students stop short of a degree, "just 56 percent of college students complete four-year degrees within six years." If that information does not set enough of a dismal tone, I will also relay the information that "Only 29 percent of those who start two-year degrees finish them within three years."
The article by Lou Carlozo goes on to explain that many students are dropping out because they find themselves in a "financial hole," meaning students are getting deep into student loan debt. Other reasons for dropping out that are mentioned in the article include "not being prepared for the rigors of academic work; inability to cope with the competing demands of study, family and jobs."
I think the article hits on some major contributing factors, but fails to mention other factors such as student motivation, ability to persevere, ability to keep track of deadlines and create a method of organization, ability to limit social and relaxation time, ability to focus and stay on task, ability to work well with others, ability to ask for help and advocate for oneself when needed, ability to take personal responsibility, etc.
I am an educator. I teach community college freshman, and I try to incorporate as many engaging and motivating activities as possible, but at some point, students need to be responsible for their own engagement and motivation. Somehow, students have to become accountable for themselves. They have to learn to succeed when classes are interesting and when classes are boring. They have to learn to work with instructors they dislike, and they have to learn to get tutoring when they don't understand the course material.
Yes, sometimes life gets in the way. Other times, the student gets in his or her own way by not being accountable in the way a college student should be. I wonder how drastically the statistics would change if students put more metacognitive effort and energy into themselves.