Schools Ranked by Graduation Rate Page 5

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
401

Champlain College

14 to 1 58% 79% 66% 10% 73% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
402

Concordia University-Wisconsin

12 to 1 58% 76% 67% 21% 75% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
403

San Jose State University

27 to 1 57% 86% 55% 11% 64% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
404

Florida Southern College

13 to 1 57% 80% 45% 11% 93% 10% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
405

University of Idaho

16 to 1 57% 80% 72% 26% 67% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
406

Greenville College

13 to 1 57% 82% 56% 14% 91% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
407

Clarke University

9 to 1 57% 76% 72% 14% 91% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
408

Georgetown College

10 to 1 57% 72% 68% 13% 90% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
409

Bay Path University

12 to 1 57% 80% 77% 16% 76% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
410

Northwood University-Michigan

14 to 1 57% 78% 69% 16% 83% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
411

St Catherine University

10 to 1 57% 86% 67% 14% 89% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
412

Western Carolina University

16 to 1 57% 80% 40% 9% 65% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
413

Malone University

12 to 1 57% 70% 69% 21% 86% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
414

Widener University-Main Campus

12 to 1 57% 78% 68% 16% 81% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
415

Bryan College-Dayton

14 to 1 57% 65% 46% 24% 60% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
416

Johnson University

14 to 1 57% 74% 58% 42% 89% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
417

LeTourneau University

12 to 1 57% 69% 45% 14% 66% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
418

West Virginia University

20 to 1 57% 79% 86% 31% 64% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
419

University of Wisconsin-Stout

20 to 1 57% 76% 93% 49% 44% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
420

California Institute of the Arts

7 to 1 56% 87% 25% 9% 55% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
421

Vanguard University of Southern California

15 to 1 56% 78% 68% 25% 81% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
422

Hobe Sound Bible College

12 to 1 56% 75% N/A N/A 55% 11% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
423

McKendree University

14 to 1 56% 71% 63% 19% 75% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
424

Marian University

13 to 1 56% 80% 56% 15% 66% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
425

Northwest Iowa Community College

12 to 1 56% 75% N/A N/A 30% 11% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
426

Midway University

15 to 1 56% 78% 46% 18% 86% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
427

Berklee College of Music

11 to 1 56% 87% 29% 12% 53% 12% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
428

Framingham State University

15 to 1 56% 74% 71% 18% 57% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
429

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

17 to 1 56% 86% 57% 15% 55% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
430

Lawrence Technological University

12 to 1 56% 81% 55% 16% 51% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
431

Augsburg College

12 to 1 56% 79% 59% 16% 82% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
432

Crown College

18 to 1 56% 68% 53% 15% 80% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
433

University of Nebraska at Kearney

14 to 1 56% 80% 85% 37% 71% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
434

SUNY Maritime College

17 to 1 56% 87% 68% 25% 54% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
435

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

17 to 1 56% 77% 59% 26% 55% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
436

The University of Findlay

16 to 1 56% 78% 76% 23% 92% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
437

Kent State University at Kent

21 to 1 56% 81% 85% 27% 68% 12% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
438

Chatham University

10 to 1 56% 76% 55% 14% 64% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
439

Norwich University

12 to 1 56% 74% 57% 18% 93% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
440

University of Alabama at Birmingham

18 to 1 55% 79% 60% 21% 58% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
441

University of North Florida

18 to 1 55% 80% 57% 14% 61% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
442

Morningside College

13 to 1 55% 74% 56% 8% 96% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
443

MidAmerica Nazarene University

7 to 1 55% 74% 61% 21% 85% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
444

Avila University

10 to 1 55% 74% 51% 10% 78% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
445

Stephens College

10 to 1 55% 72% 68% 16% 100% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
446

Multnomah University

13 to 1 55% 70% 59% 29% 90% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
447

North Greenville University

14 to 1 55% 73% 58% 34% 91% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
448

Lipscomb University

12 to 1 55% 84% 61% 20% 73% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
449

Shenandoah University

10 to 1 55% 77% 82% 22% 59% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
450

University of Wyoming

14 to 1 55% 77% 96% 36% 71% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
451

Anderson University

11 to 1 54% 75% 60% 16% 89% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
452

Notre Dame of Maryland University

12 to 1 54% 79% 52% 11% 59% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
453

Lesley University

10 to 1 54% 80% 67% 12% 75% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
454

Andrews University

9 to 1 54% 80% 39% 12% 84% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
455

Kettering University

14 to 1 54% 93% 70% 18% 93% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
456

William Carey University

13 to 1 54% 81% 57% 23% 85% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
457

Evangel University

14 to 1 54% 71% 61% 24% 95% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
458

Fontbonne University

11 to 1 54% 79% 97% 36% 76% 10% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
459

CUNY Brooklyn College

15 to 1 54% 82% 37% 7% 60% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
460

CUNY Hunter College

11 to 1 54% 83% 39% 8% 56% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
461

University of North Dakota

21 to 1 54% 81% 82% 39% 51% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
462

North Dakota State University-Main Campus

18 to 1 54% 78% 94% 48% 56% 3% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
463

South Dakota State University

17 to 1 54% 76% 92% 44% 58% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
464

Wheeling Jesuit University

11 to 1 54% 72% 61% 15% 79% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
465

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

22 to 1 54% 75% 94% 46% 47% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
466

Spring Hill College

14 to 1 53% 81% 41% 6% 99% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
467

Stevenson University

14 to 1 53% 80% 60% 13% 81% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
468

University of Michigan-Dearborn

15 to 1 53% 80% 62% 18% 63% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
469

Monroe College

18 to 1 53% 78% 45% 28% 92% 10% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
470

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

19 to 1 53% 83% 63% 21% 52% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
471

Queens University of Charlotte

9 to 1 53% 74% 67% 13% 86% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
472

Northwest Christian University

12 to 1 53% 69% 68% 23% 91% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
473

Old Dominion University

19 to 1 53% 82% 83% 31% 55% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
474

West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown

25 to 1 53% 69% N/A N/A 88% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
475

Northern Arizona University

18 to 1 52% 74% 77% 17% 64% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
476

North Florida Community College

17 to 1 52% 70% N/A N/A 60% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
477

North Park University

11 to 1 52% 75% 49% 9% 89% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
478

Graceland University-Lamoni

16 to 1 52% 62% 48% 13% 82% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
479

Louisiana Tech University

23 to 1 52% 80% 64% 31% 72% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
480

Cleary University

11 to 1 52% 65% 72% 46% 100% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
481

Spring Arbor University

11 to 1 52% 79% 69% 19% 88% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
482

William Woods University

11 to 1 52% 75% 73% 21% 90% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
483

Gardner-Webb University

13 to 1 52% 73% 53% 12% 58% 10% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
484

Muskingum University

14 to 1 52% 74% 74% 18% 83% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
485

University of South Dakota

17 to 1 52% 77% 74% 31% 54% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
486

Central Washington University

20 to 1 52% 79% 82% 34% 56% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
487

The Baptist College of Florida

11 to 1 51% 76% 52% 29% 97% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
488

Buena Vista University

9 to 1 51% 78% 68% 16% 85% 7% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
489

Frostburg State University

16 to 1 51% 76% 63% 24% 56% 10% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
490

Alvernia University

12 to 1 51% 76% 74% 24% 87% 8% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
491

Trevecca Nazarene University

17 to 1 51% 77% 73% 31% 77% 6% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
492

Viterbo University

11 to 1 51% 78% 66% 20% 85% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
493

California State University-San Marcos

24 to 1 51% 81% 54% 16% 69% 5% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
494

Georgia Southern University

21 to 1 50% 82% 60% 35% 67% 9% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
495

Concordia University-Chicago

15 to 1 50% 62% 50% 7% 89% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
496

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

6 to 1 50% 74% 59% 26% 83% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
497

New York School of Interior Design

10 to 1 50% 80% 42% 8% 29% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
498

Saint Elizabeth College of Nursing

8 to 1 50% 100% 50% 39% 67% 4% N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
499

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

18 to 1 50% 88% 57% 22% 80% N/A N/A N/A
,
N/AN/A
500

California University of Pennsylvania

21 to 1 50% 77% 85% 26% 62% 8% 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