Schools Ranked by Graduation Rate Page 2

Low acceptance rates may serve as a mark of prestige among elite colleges, but high graduation rates demonstrate a school's commitment to students, reflecting a high level of institutional support and overall effectiveness. High college graduation rates can also show applicants how many students move through a school or program at an average rate, completing their studies in a typical timeframe.

Colleges often publish their graduation and retention rates. While the graduation rate indicates the percentage of students who complete a degree, retention rate indicates the percent of freshman students who continue on to sophomore year. A high retention rate typically translates to a high graduation rate, indicating that a school supports students throughout the course of their education.

Most traditional graduation figures indicate how many students complete a four-year program within six years of enrolling. However, colleges increasingly serve students from varied backgrounds who may need even longer to complete a degree due to work or family obligations. A recent study from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that 54.8% of students at two- and four-year colleges complete a degree within six years, while 60.4% of students complete a degree within eight years.

 

Schools by Graduation Rate

We use figures from the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator database for this page. College Navigator defines graduation rate as the percentage of full-time, first-time undergraduate students. We use the latest figures available, which include students who graduated within 150% of the normal time to program completion. For example, for a four-year program, the graduation rate includes students who graduate within six years of beginning the program.

College Navigator does not post graduation rate figures for all of the colleges on our list. We do not, however, want to penalize those colleges without data. To that end, we simply excluded those schools from the rankings in this category.

Why Does Graduation Rate Matter?

While not the definitive gauge of an institution's quality, college graduation rates contribute to a school's reputation. The most selective colleges generally boast the highest graduation rates. A school's graduation rate often reflects its academic effectiveness and the strength of its faculty, giving students a sense of what to expect once they enroll.

While our own list features a wide selection of colleges with top graduation rates, students should consider more than just these figures when selecting a school. However, it is always wise to determine a school's graduation rate as part of the overall picture.

Graduation rate can speak to a program's effectiveness

A high college graduation rate refers to a program's overall effectiveness, demonstrating that most students complete their education successfully. A school or program with a high graduation rate most likely offers a high level of student support, enabling learners to progress through their education without issues or interruptions. Other factors may also influence graduation rate, such as students transferring to a different college or even a different program at the same college.

Graduation rate can showcase strong faculty

A high graduation rate can also demonstrate a school or program's academic strengths and its depth of resources. Schools with high graduation rates typically employ strong faculty members who provide attention and support for students. These schools typically offer many student resources, including advising, counseling, and career support. A strong selection of support services can increase retention, helping students stay on track and graduate on time.

Graduation rate can provide students with insight about a school's timeline

A graduation rate can also give students an idea of what to expect in terms of a program's total completion time. Many schools' graduation figures indicate not just successful completion rates but also how long students take to complete a degree. Researching graduation rates can help students understand the general timeline for a program and whether most candidates graduate on time. Learners should also investigate what percentage of students enroll full time vs. part time.

What Can a High Graduation Rate Mean?

While a high graduation rate often indicates academic quality and a strong student support system, these numbers do not necessarily tell the whole story about a college. More selective institutions typically report higher graduation rates. However, these schools are more likely to admit students from wealthier backgrounds, who generally graduate at a higher rate than other students.

Graduation rates commonly indicate the number of full-time undergraduate students who complete their degree within 150% of the published program time. However, these figures may not always reflect students enrolled part time or those who take more than six years to complete their degree.

While graduation rates may not provide a full picture of a school and its strengths, they serve as one measure of evaluating an institution's effectiveness. While these figures may cater primarily to traditional four-year students, part-time students and returning learners should also examine graduation rates.

Graduation Rate FAQs

Question Answer
What is a good graduation rate for college? Top colleges often maintain graduation rates above 90%. For example, Harvard holds a graduation rate of 98%, while Yale holds a graduation rate of 97%.
Does graduation rates matter? While students should not judge a school solely on its graduation rates, these rates often correspond to an institution's selectivity and the strength of its academic programs.
Are college graduation rates declining? As of 2019, college graduation rates are increasing slightly. However, only 58.3% of students complete a bachelor's degree within six years.
What is a bad graduation rate in college? Less-selective schools often maintain graduation rates below 50%. Schools that offer open enrollment (no set admission requirements) typically have the lowest graduation rates.
Rank School Student to
Faculty Ratio
Graduation
Rate
Retention
Rate
Acceptance
Rate
Enrollment
Rate
Institutional
Aid Rate
Default
Rate
101

University of California-Santa Cruz

18 to 1 78% 88% 50% 8% 74% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
102

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

18 to 1 78% 91% 58% 12% 69% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
103

Marist College

16 to 1 78% 91% 45% 13% 75% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
104

Elizabethtown College

12 to 1 78% 82% 71% 15% 99% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
105

Bethesda University

10 to 1 77% 68% N/A N/A 58% 2% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
106

Colorado School of Mines

16 to 1 77% 94% 38% 9% 68% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
107

University of Denver

11 to 1 77% 86% 73% 9% 80% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
108

Indiana University-Bloomington

17 to 1 77% 89% 78% 23% 59% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
109

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

13 to 1 77% 93% 58% 13% 95% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
110

Taylor University

12 to 1 77% 87% 85% 30% 84% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
111

Luther College

12 to 1 77% 85% 67% 16% 97% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
112

Michigan State University

17 to 1 77% 92% 66% 23% 51% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
113

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

17 to 1 77% 93% 45% 13% 50% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
114

Messiah College

12 to 1 77% 88% 79% 28% 97% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
115

University of Vermont

15 to 1 77% 86% 71% 9% 77% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
116

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

22 to 1 76% 93% 31% 11% 55% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
117

Quinnipiac University

12 to 1 76% 87% 74% 8% 83% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
118

Augustana College

12 to 1 76% 86% 49% 10% 97% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
119

Hope College

11 to 1 76% 88% 72% 18% 87% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
120

University of St Thomas

14 to 1 76% 89% 84% 26% 91% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
121

Ithaca College

11 to 1 76% 86% 67% 11% 88% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
122

Texas Christian University

13 to 1 76% 90% 43% 11% 66% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
123

Saint Michael's College

11 to 1 76% 87% 76% 10% 98% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
124

Point Loma Nazarene University

15 to 1 75% 84% 71% 21% 82% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
125

Drake University

13 to 1 75% 88% 67% 12% 94% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
126

Emmaus Bible College

9 to 1 75% 83% 35% 14% 95% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
127

Fashion Institute of Technology

17 to 1 75% 90% 41% 27% 41% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
128

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

16 to 1 75% 85% 52% 20% 76% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
129

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

15 to 1 75% 93% 50% 20% 54% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
130

Augustana University

10 to 1 75% 84% 65% 25% 97% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
131

Whitworth University

11 to 1 75% 95% 62% 13% 94% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
132

Purdue University-Main Campus

12 to 1 75% 92% 59% 15% 51% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
133

American Medical Academy

6 to 1 75% 83% N/A N/A 18% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
134

Samford University

12 to 1 74% 89% 93% 26% 88% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
135

Bradley University

12 to 1 74% 86% 66% 10% 94% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
136

Loyola University Chicago

14 to 1 74% 86% 71% 10% 83% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
137

Simmons College

7 to 1 74% 85% 58% 10% 91% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
138

Calvin College

13 to 1 74% 86% 74% 25% 95% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
139

Bethel University

12 to 1 74% 84% 95% 40% 89% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
140

Ramapo College of New Jersey

17 to 1 74% 86% 53% 13% 43% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
141

University at Buffalo

13 to 1 74% 88% 60% 15% 55% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
142

Xavier University

11 to 1 74% 83% 72% 11% 92% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
143

Duquesne University

13 to 1 74% 85% 76% 20% 92% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
144

Lebanon Valley College

11 to 1 74% 85% 72% 14% 94% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
145

Auburn University

19 to 1 73% 90% 78% 25% 53% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
146

University of California-Riverside

19 to 1 73% 91% 56% 11% 84% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
147

Regis University

14 to 1 73% 79% 66% 10% 54% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
148

DePaul University

16 to 1 73% 84% 72% 13% 80% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
149

Illinois Institute of Technology

13 to 1 73% 87% 53% 11% 89% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
150

Illinois State University

18 to 1 73% 82% 88% 30% 50% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
151

Assumption College

12 to 1 73% 83% 76% 12% 92% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
152

Concordia College at Moorhead

11 to 1 73% 82% 78% 23% 96% 2% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
153

Martin Luther College

12 to 1 73% 83% 78% 66% 94% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
154

Truman State University

16 to 1 73% 89% 79% 32% 80% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
155

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

12 to 1 73% 81% 34% 19% 72% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
156

Stockton University

17 to 1 73% 87% 64% 21% 56% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
157

Houghton College

12 to 1 73% 84% 95% 35% 97% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
158

Nazareth College

9 to 1 73% 84% 76% 14% 97% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
159

SUNY College at Cortland

16 to 1 73% 78% 51% 11% 61% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
160

State University of New York at New Paltz

15 to 1 73% 89% 42% 7% 53% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
161

John Carroll University

13 to 1 73% 85% 82% 19% 97% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
162

Juniata College

13 to 1 73% 86% 77% 14% 92% 2% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
163

Lancaster Bible College

14 to 1 73% 79% 68% 42% 90% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
164

Saint Norbert College

13 to 1 73% 82% 78% 16% 94% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
165

University of Redlands

14 to 1 72% 85% 68% 11% 81% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
166

University of Iowa

15 to 1 72% 85% 81% 20% 58% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
167

MCPHS University

16 to 1 72% 84% 87% 16% 87% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
168

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

9 to 1 72% 92% 71% 23% 55% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
169

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

16 to 1 72% 93% 74% 47% 52% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
170

Clarkson University

14 to 1 72% 88% 68% 11% 96% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
171

Manhattan College

13 to 1 72% 84% 67% 11% 87% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
172

Saint John Fisher College

12 to 1 72% 86% 62% 12% 96% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
173

Pamlico Community College

9 to 1 72% 76% N/A N/A 39% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
174

Cedarville University

13 to 1 72% 86% 74% 26% 88% 2% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
175

Mount Carmel College of Nursing

13 to 1 72% 85% 82% 54% 50% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
176

Misericordia University

12 to 1 72% 85% 71% 22% 83% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
177

University of the Sciences

10 to 1 72% 90% 58% 9% 84% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
178

Saint Francis University

14 to 1 72% 87% 74% 22% 84% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
179

Salve Regina University

13 to 1 72% 86% 73% 12% 81% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
180

University of South Carolina-Columbia

19 to 1 72% 87% 65% 20% 71% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
181

University of San Francisco

14 to 1 71% 83% 64% 8% 61% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
182

University of Colorado Boulder

18 to 1 71% 86% 80% 20% 43% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
183

Iowa State University

19 to 1 71% 87% 87% 33% 67% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
184

Endicott College

14 to 1 71% 86% 73% 20% 77% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
185

Merrimack College

13 to 1 71% 83% 79% 11% 89% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
186

Maryville University of Saint Louis

13 to 1 71% 89% 72% 26% 68% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
187

Rockhurst University

12 to 1 71% 85% 74% 12% 68% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
188

Saint Louis University

11 to 1 71% 90% 63% 12% 54% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
189

Clarkson College

13 to 1 71% 71% 52% 39% 60% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
190

Appalachian State University

16 to 1 71% 86% 66% 23% 45% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
191

University of North Carolina Wilmington

17 to 1 71% 85% 61% 18% 53% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
192

University of Oregon

19 to 1 71% 88% 74% 19% 60% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
193

Pacific University

11 to 1 71% 77% 79% 16% 93% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
194

Susquehanna University

12 to 1 71% 89% 76% 13% 98% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
195

Temple University

14 to 1 71% 90% 56% 17% 72% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
196

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

19 to 1 71% 88% 59% 19% 43% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
197

Seattle Pacific University

15 to 1 71% 87% 82% 13% 93% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
198

Western Washington University

18 to 1 71% 82% 82% 28% 48% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
199

Provo College

12 to 1 71% 100% N/A N/A 74% 18% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
200

Biola University

15 to 1 70% 85% 70% 21% 91% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A

Methodology

For each college, we gathered data for nine different metrics: the number of full-time faculty per part-time faculty member; institutional financial aid, acceptance, retention, graduation, job placement, and default rates; years accredited; and undergraduate tuition. Learn more