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Why Are Students Breaking up with STEM?

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The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education in the United States and other nations. Their recent report on college student STEM field attrition rates is designed to help understand potential factors of STEM competency loss. Government officials and business leaders are seeking to find ways to improve attrition rates in an effort to maintain U.S. intellectual abilities. The report found that 28 percent of bachelor’s degree and 20% of associate’s degree students entering into a STEM field within 6 years of entering college in 2003-2004. Biology attracted 11% while math and physical sciences were unpopular at 2-3%. Associate degree seekers (9%) were looking for computer/information sciences that have a higher rate of pay when compared to the other fields.  A total of 48% of bachelor’s students and 69% of associate’s students left the STEM field by 2009. Interestingly, fie