The Ten Highest Graduation Rates Among State Universities

Sunday, May. 23rd 2010 17:11

Readers of our blog know our emphasis on value. For that reason we have noted the importance of the payback ratio and the concept of the honors college.

iStock_000012880029XSmallFurthering our value concept, we have also posted our five reasons to consider your local state university. All told, it is our view that state universities consistently offer some of the best values going.

But such a position must go hand in hand with the most important statistic, college completion. While the public is often bombarded with America’s K-12 school dropout issue, the fact is that college dropout rates far exceed what transpires in the K-12 sector.

These poor results as well as lists of the best and worst college graduation rates recently hit the headlines with the release of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research’s release of Diplomas and Dropouts (PDF).The private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social has compiled the completion rates of all American colleges and universities.

For the record, the study utilizes the common six-year completion method, i.e. those who complete their degree within six years of entering school. While we would prefer to see summaries of those who complete their program within four years, the six-year figure is the going standard. Those reviewing the report will find the highest and lowest grad rates for students based on school selectivity but the report does not offer a complete breakout for state universities.

Given our ongoing support of state university systems, we took the time to review the AEI report for readers. Below you will find our list of the top ten state universities by graduation rate. All offer very strong numbers.

To be sure, not all of these schools have the same selectivity rating. And readers must understand that we cannot fully articulate the reasons why one school tops another. We do not know if it is because of stronger support for students, better instruction, or the proper level of entrance criteria. In fact we would guess it is most probably a combination of all of these elements and more.

The bottom line is not all schools are as successful as their counterparts. To get a full sense, we also offer a complete summary of all state institutions after our top ten. To give readers some other key data, our final list includes the percent graduation rate, in-state tuition and fee costs, total enrollment and the state graduation percentage (average of all colleges in that respective state).

The Top Ten State Universities by Graduation Rate

1. University of Virginia: 93%
2. University of California, Los Angeles: 90%
3. (tie) University of California, Berkeley: 88%
3. (tie) University of Michigan: 88%
5. (tie) Penn State 84%
5. (tie) University of California, San Diego: 84%
7. University of North Carolina 83%
8. University of Illinois: 82%
9. University of Florida: 81%
10. (tie) University of California, Irvine: 80%
10. (tie) University of Maryland: 80%

All State institutions:

Alabama
University of Alabama: 65% – $5,700 – 23,499
State Average: 42.9%

Alaska
University of Alaska: 20% – $4,477 – 10,990
State Average: 24.0%

Arizona
University of Arizona: 56% – $5,048 – 33,447
State Average: 52.0%

Arkansas
University of Arkansas: 58% – $6,038 – 15,913
State Average: 48.5%

California
University of California, Berkeley: 88% – $7,165 – 33,855
University of California, Davis: 79% – $8,124 – 28,868
University of California, Irvine: 80% – $7,556 – 25,839
University of California, Los Angeles: 90% – $7,165 – 36,733
University of California, San Diego: 84% – $7,456 – 26,466
State Average: 59.7%
* We have provided the data for the five largest branches.

Colorado
University of Colorado at Boulder: 67% – $6,636 – 28,171
State Average: 44.7%

Connecticut
University of Connecticut: 74% – $8,852 – 21,373
State Average: 60.8%

Delaware
University of Delaware: 78% – $8,150 – 18,716
State Average 47.0%

Florida
University of Florida: 81% – $3,257 – 47,600
State Average: 48.0%

Georgia
University of Georgia: 77% – $5,622 – 31,008
State Average: 44.7%

Hawaii

University of Hawaii: 55% – $5,390 – 16,505
State Average: 43.2%

Idaho
University of Idaho: 53% – $4,410 – 10,138
State Average: 41.7%

Illinois
University of Illinois: 82% – $11,130 – 40,248
State Average: 56.3%

Indiana
Indiana University: 72% – $7,837 – 36,151
State Average 53.1%

Iowa
University of Iowa: 66% – $6,293 – 25,685
State Average: 57.0%

Kansas
University of Kansas: 60% – $6,600 – 24,988
State Average: 46.7%

Kentucky
University of Kentucky: 62% – $7,096 – 23,600
State Average: 44.3%

Louisiana
Louisiana State University: 60% – $4,543 – 26,901
State Average: 40.1%

Maine
University of Maine: 59% – $8,330 – 10,130
State Average: 57.4%

Maryland

University of Maryland: 80% – $7,969 – 32,660
State Average: 59.4%

Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts: 66% – $9,921 – 22,655
State Average: 66.6%

Michigan
University of Michigan: 88% – $10,447 – 39,199
State Average: 52.1%

Minnesota
University of Minnesota: 63% – $9,598 – 41,927
State Average: 62.7%

Mississippi

Mississippi State University: 58% – $4,978 – 14,932
University of Mississippi: 53% – $4,932 – 13,977
State Average: 46.1%

Missouri

University of Missouri: 67% – $7,603 – 25,714
State Average: 51.8%

Montana
University of Montana: 42% – $5,141 – 12,129
State Average: 40.8%

Nebraska

University of Nebraska: 63% – $6,216 – 20,781
State Average: 52.5%

Nevada

University of Nevada: 41% – $4,201 – 21,938
State Average: 38.0%

New Hampshire
University of New Hampshire: 73% – $11,070 – 13,620
State Average: 57.3%

New Jersey
Rutgers University: 73% – $10,686 – 31,188
State Average: 57.3%

New Mexico
University of New Mexico: 44% – $4,571 – 20,870
State Average: 40.2%

New York
Stony Brook University: 59% – $5,760 – 20,573
SUNY at Albany: 64% – $6,018 – 15,590
SUNY at Binghamton: 77% – $6,012 – 13,376
SUNY at Buffalo: 61% – $6,218 – 25,252
State Average: 59.6%

North Carolina
University of North Carolina: 83% – $5,340 – 25,089
State Average 50.5%

North Dakota
University of North Dakota: 54% – $6,060 – 10,965
State Average: 44.0%

Ohio
Ohio State University: 71% – $8,676 – 48,583
State Average: 54.5%

Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma: 62% – $6,507 – 21,945
State Average: 38.8%

Oregon
University of Oregon: 65% – $6,174 – 18,902
State Average: 54.3%

Pennsylvania

Penn State: 84% – $12,844 – 41,817
State Average: 64.6%

Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island: 58% – $8,184 – 13,655
State Average: 67.1%

South Carolina
University of South Carolina: 63% – $8,346 – 23,955
State Average: 50.0%

South Dakota
University of South Dakota: 48% – $5,752 – 7,041
State Average: 43.3%

Tennessee
University of Tennessee: 58% – $5,932 – 27,620
State Average: 48.5%

Texas
University of Texas: 78% – $7,670 – 47,490
State Average: 45.8%

Utah
University of Utah: 56% – $4,988 – 22,845
State Average: 50.5%

Vermont
University of Vermont: 72% – $12,054 – 11,061
State Average: 56.1%

Virginia
University of Virginia: 93% – $8,690 – 21,889
State Average: 56.7%

Washington

University of Washington: 75% – $6,385 – 36,120
State Average: 59.2%

West Virginia
West Virginia University: 55% – $4,722 – 25,673
State Average: 42.6%

Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin: 79% – $7,185 – 38,652
State Average: 55.6%

Wyoming

University of Wyoming: 57% – $3,366 – 10,549
State Average: 57.0%

Posted by Thomas in Advice, Applying to College | 5 Comments »



5 Comments on “The Ten Highest Graduation Rates Among State Universities”

  1. Polina Says:

    State and city universities are great! I graduated from a CUNY school and think that I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.

  2. Bob Says:

    Might it make some sense to inform your readers that the rates you published above are SIX YEAR graduation rates and not four-year?

    Among large (>10,000 students) state, “four-year,” live-on-campus universities and according to the College Board, the average FOUR-year graduation rate is 36% and the average SIX-year rate is 62%.

    Seventy-nine, of 99 such colleges, graduate fewer than 55% of students in four years so parents are forced to pay for five, six or even SEVEN years (25/99 have SIX year grad rates below 55%). State university education is actually – with rare exceptions like Virginia, UNC-Chapel Hill (only) and Michigan – a terrible value.

    Add to that the fact that state colleges generally provide far less financial aid than private colleges do and the picture is even more bleak. Worst of all are the parents that allow their children to go to out-of-state, state colleges and then pay on average, a 63% cost premium to get a very average (at best) state college education in another location!

  3. Joe R Says:

    Hey Bob,
    You’re totally right.

    It’s insane, throughout our entire nation, we can find 10 (!) public universities that succeed in graduating students 80% of the time or more. Even reputable ones like Indiana, Ohio State, and Washington aren’t doing it.

    Compare this to my old school, which boasts a graduation rate of 89% (and a 4-year of 80%) yet most people outside of my city have never heard of it.

    That 62% graduation rate basically says 38% of people are taking taxpayer-subsidized education, and not finishing school. What a waste, and what a scam on people who have the common sense to not pay thousands for college, when they know they lack the intellectual capacity for it.

  4. Mary Yuhas Says:

    You left off the College of William & Mary in Virginia (yes, it’s a state school), which has about a 92% graduation rate (just a tiny bit behind UVA, but W&M is much more undergraduate focused with smaller classes and no TA’s used for teaching in regular classes), and James Madison University in Virginia with about an 82% graduation rate (also a state university with a wonderful focus on undergrads and minimal-to-non-existant use of TA’s for teaching undergrads). Virginia state schools on the whole are awesome and have amazingly good graduation rates compared to other states’ publicly supported schools.

  5. Jackie Says:

    Hey! You left off W&M! It’s one of the best – plus one of the best graduation rates of athletes. When I was in college it was 4th behind Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

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