A surprising reason keeping students from finishing college: A lack of transportation

At a time when colleges are increasingly focused on how to get and keep students enrolled, some of the most surprising challenges are not academic but logistical.
By: | December 10, 2021

When 18-year-old Ernesto Rubio graduated from high school in June, he knew what he wanted to do next: take a summer class in the basics of becoming an emergency medical technician, the first step toward his dream job as a paramedic.

The challenge? Getting to the class.

Rubio, the first in his family to go to college, couldn’t afford the $40 for a monthly bus pass, so he walked the three miles from his home in Whittier, California, to the fire academy where the course was held. It took nearly two hours for him to trudge through an industrial area with few sidewalks, a distance that would take just minutes in a car.

At a time when colleges are increasingly focused on how to get and keep students enrolled and on a path to a degree, some of the most surprising challenges are not academic but logistical. Something as simple as affordable, reliable transportation can mean the difference between a student finishing college or not.

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