The Paradox of Increasing both Enrollment and Graduation Rates: Acknowledging Elephants in the Ivory Tower

Sean W. Mulvenon, Daniel H. Robinson


The argument is made that increasing enrollments and graduation rates cannot occur while maintaining academic standards. Several U.S. universities are attempting to increase their enrollments to counter the financial difficulties created by a reduction in state support. These same universities are also under growing pressure from their state legislatures to increase four-year graduation rates and make degrees more affordable. In this essay, we describe how some universities and programs are attempting to meet both of these goals by lowering academic standards.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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