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Graduation Gaps For Science Majors

By Inside Higher Ed

February 17, 2010

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A recent University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) survey found that more students are interested in majoring in science and technology fields, but those students are graduating at lower rates than students not pursing science and technology degrees.

In 2009, 34.3 percent of white and Asian-American students and 34.1 percent of black, Latino, and Native American students said they planned to major in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline. "It's really positive that we're seeing growth in the percentage of students entering college who are interested in pursuing a STEM major across races," says UCLA professor Mitchell Chang.

However, the survey found that less than half of white and Asian-American students who started pursuing STEM majors actually graduated with STEM degrees, and the percentages are even less for blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. "Something that happens in college—and it goes beyond just preparation—is losing students," Chang says.

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