College Graduation Rates: A Love Hate Relationship

Graduation rates can provide important information, but their value can be debatable. Graduation rates are a complex and imperfect measure. I see graduation rate as providing information that is nice to know, but not absolutely necessary in making college attendance decisions. On the other hand, this nice to know information can become somewhat important when a college has a 6-year graduation rates in the low teens.

The following sections discuss how graduation rates are measured and where to go to find the graduation rates for different colleges and universities.

  1. Fall full-time freshman year enrollments. The graduation rates that are available for exploration are provided by the College Navigator. The issue with these rates is that they include only students that entered the institution during the fall semester and enrolled full-time during their freshman year (12 credit hours). In other words, students that entered the institution during the Fall semester as part-time, as well as students entering the institution during the Spring and Summer semesters as either full- or part-time are excluded from the graduation rates calculations. Additionally, transfer students are also excluded.

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