Public Universities With the Best Grad Rates

Yesterday I wrote a post that explored what types of schools enjoy the best graduation rates. If you missed it, here it is:

Who Graduates In 4 Years?

Today I’m sharing the 25 public universities where students enjoy the best chances of earning a diploma in four years. I pulled these figures off the federal database that goes by the acronym IPEDS. I’m also including the 25 state institutions that do the most horrendous  job of getting their students out in four years.

25 State Universities With the Best 4-Year Grad Rates

  1. United States Naval Academy                       86%
  2. University of Virginia                                     85%
  3. College of William and Mary                         82%
  4. United Air Force Academy                             79%
  5. United State Military Academy                     76%
  6. United State Coast Guard Academy              75%
  7. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill    73%
  8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor                70%
  9. University of Mary Washington                      70%
  10. James Madison University                               68%
  11. Miami University (OH)                                     68%
  12. The College of New Jersey                                68%
  13. St. Mary’s College of Maryland                        67%
  14. University of Delaware                                      67%
  15. UCLA                                                                     65%
  16. University of California, Berkeley                    64%
  17. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign     64%
  18. SUNY at Binghamton, NY                                  64%
  19. United State Merchant Marines                        64%
  20. University of Maryland-College Park               63%
  21. University of California, Irvine                          60%
  22. Penn State University-Main Campus               60%
  23. Citadel Military College of South Carolina      59%
  24. Virginia Military Institute                                   59%
  25. SUNY at Geneseo, NY                                          58%

25 State Universities With the Worst Graduation Rates

  1. Great Basin College, NV                                                          0%
  2. Institute of Amer. Indian & Alaska Native Culture, NM   0%
  3. Oklahoma State University Inst. of Technology-Okmulgee  0%
  4. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX                    0%
  5. Texas A&M University, Commerce                                         0%
  6. Texas A&M International University, Laredo                      0%
  7. Alabama State University, Montgomery                               0%
  8. Macon State College,  Macon, GA                                           0%
  9. Dalton State College, Dover, DE                                             0%
  10. Delaware State College,  Dover                                               0%
  11. Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis                              0%
  12. Southern University at New Orleans                                     0%
  13. Louisiana State University,  Shreveport                                 0%
  14. Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, KS             1%
  15. Oglala Lakota College Kyle, SD                                              2%
  16. University of Houston-Downtown                                        2%
  17. Purdue University-North Central Campus, Westville, IN 3%
  18. Nevada State College,  Henderson                                         3%
  19. Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago                            3%
  20. University of the District of Columbia                                  3%
  21. Chicago State University,  IL                                                  3%
  22. University of Texas at Brownsville                                        3%
  23. West Virginia University,  Parkersburg                                0%
  24. Univesrity of Texas at El Paso                                                4%
  25. Sul Ross State University  Alpine, TX                                   4%

I’m sure that the administrators at the schools in the cellar will blame their students for not graduating, but that is a cop-out. There are schools with open enrollment — they take just about anybody who applies – that possess much better grad rates than these schools.
If these schools can’t do a better job, why should their doors remain open?   Students, who are saddled with student loan debt and no degrees from these schools, must be asking themselves that question.
PS: I apologize for the unruly percentages in the columns. When I edited the post in Word Press the columns were straight. If anybody knows how to straighten columns, please let me know!
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller and a workbook, Shrinking the Cost of College: 152 Ways to Cut the Cost of a Bachelor’s Degree. Follow her on Twitter.

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    1. Actually, Sonoma State has a higher grad rate than most Cal State campuses. The main reason is that students can get the classes they need to graduate on time.
      Lynn O’Shaughnessy

    1. Shaheena — The 4-yr grad rate at Sonoma State is 31%.
      You can find grad rates for any school by Googling “College Completion.” You will be directed to a site within The Chronicle of Higher Education.
      Lynn O’Shaughnessy

  1. I’m wondering about the graduation rate at Great Basin College. It’s a small school and the majority of the students that attend are in 2 year programs that give them skills for the industries of rural Nevada. Further, most students that attend have full time jobs which helps to explain the low four year graduation rate, which is admittedly true.
    However, one thing I found strange about this statistic was my experience there. I had the luxury of the GI Bill which allowed me to go full time, unlike my classmates. This also meant that I graduated with a degree in social science in 2010 after four years of attending class. I am just curious if the government website has accurate statistics regarding graduation rates, or if somehow my case slipped through the gaps? Hopefully they can correct this soon!