Aug 18, 2012

Just the Facts: Colleges with the Highest Graduation Rates

University of Richmond
One of the scariest numbers in postsecondary education is the national “six-year” college graduation rate. Every college and university in the country tracks it, and every school must submit their number for analysis bythe federal government.

According to the most recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the percent of students starting as freshmen in four-year bachelor’s programs who graduate within six years now rests at about at 58 percent (up from 57 percent in the last NCES report).

You might be wondering what the four-year graduation rate must be if only 58 percent of students graduate in six years. Trust me, it’s far worse. And the divide between public and private institutions is really disturbing—52.4 percent of all private school students graduate in four years while only slightly more than 30 percent of students attending public institutions graduate on average in the same period.

Not surprisingly, the more selective the school, the higher the likelihood of “on-time” graduation.  Colleges accepting 25 percent or fewer of their applicants had an 87 percent average six-year graduation rate while those accepting between 75 and 90 percent of all applicants posted a 56 percent average six-year graduation rate.

Locally, a handful of colleges can boast of 4-year graduation rates above 80 percent or well above national averages. These include the US Naval Academy (88%), Washington & Lee (92%), Georgetown (87%), UVa (85%), William & Mary (82%), Johns Hopkins University (84%), and the University of Richmond (81%).

Again, thanks to USNWR, here is a sneak peek of the top 4-year graduation rates for 2012:
  • Webb Institute (96%)
  • Washington & Lee University (92%)
  • Pomona College (91%)
  • Williams College (91%)
  • Bowdoin College (90%)
  • College of the Holy Cross (90%)
  • Princeton University (90%)
  • University of Notre Dame (90%)
  • Vassar College (90%)
  • Amherst College (89%)
  • Bucknell University (89%)
  • Carleton College (89%)
  • Davidson College (89%)
  • Swarthmore College (89%)
  • Wesleyan University (89%)
  • Yale University (89%)
  • Columbia University (88%)
  • Dartmouth College (88%)
  • U.S. Naval Academy (88%)
  • University of Pennsylvania (88%)
  • Babson College (87%)
  • Boston College (87%)
  • Duke University (87%)
  • Georgetown University (87%)
  • Harvard University (87%)
  • Haverford College (87%)
  • Lafayette College (87%)
  • University of Chicago (87%)

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