According to a study, half of college students are falling behind in finishing a bachelor’s degree within five years as student loan forgiveness approaches.

This study also points out that half of the college students must catch up in their first year to graduate in four years. There is a disparity between gender and racial/ethnic groups. And the average student will not finish a degree in even five years.

But there may be yet another fact that helps to explain why education is so expensive: students are graduating later.

According to a recent study from the National Student Clearinghouse, only 51% of full-time college students acquired 24 or more credits during their first year. Most colleges allow students to complete their undergraduate degrees in roughly 120 credits, so if you maintain a regular 15-credit-per-semester schedule, it would take 8 semesters, or 4 years, to finish your graduate degree.

However, the report shows that just 28% of students received at least 30 hours of credit, which means that more than 70% of students are already behind schedule to graduate in 4 years following their freshman year.

In addition, the standard full-student attempted and received fewer than 22 credits out of a possible 27 in their first year. According to the report, "this means the average full-time student is not on track to complete a bachelor's degree even in five years."

Two warnings: the study did discover significant differences in the number of credits attempted and earned among gender types and racial and ethnic groupings. According to the data, Asian students were more than twice as likely as African American students to achieve 30 or more credits during their first year.

However, other potential explanations for the disparities played out: the study showed no significant difference in first-year credit development between transfer and non-transfer students, and the same was true for age. Students over 24 made less first-year credit progress than their younger counterparts.

All of this information is presented against the backdrop of a US Department of Education proposal, whose status is still murky, to potentially relieve certain loans for millions of debtors. According to Politico, President Biden is considering using administrative action to forgive $10,000 in debt for each borrower.

As a Forbes article points out, US student loan borrowers between the ages of 25 and 34 have a collective debt of $500,000, most of which is between $10,000 and $40,000 per borrower.

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