Here is a scary college statistic:
Graduating in Four Years
Public universities can often be less expensive than private institutions for students who can graduate on time, but most students attending public institutions stay longer than the traditional eight semesters. Students attending non-profit, private schools enjoy a greater chances of graduating on time.
- 51.0% Private, non-profit colleges and universities
- 29.9% Public colleges and universities
- 14.2% Private, for-profit institutions
Graduating in Five Years
The overall five-year grad rate for full-time college students is 52.3%.
- 61.3% Private, non-profit colleges and universities
- 49.1% Public colleges and universities
- 17.2% Private, for-profit institutions
Graduating in Six Years
Fifty seven percent of full-time undergraduates earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.
- 64.4% Private, non-profit institutions
- 55.0% Public institutions
- 22.0% Private, for-profit institutions
Graduating Within Six Years
When you slice and dice the numbers, the grad rates for some groups is far lower:
- 67% Asians/Pacific Islanders
- 60% Whites
- 49% Hispanics
- 42% African-Americans
- 40% Native American Indians
Grad Rates for Men vs. Women
Women fare better than men in earning their degree within four, five and six years. Despite this, young male college graduates earn more than women.
Four-year grad rates
- 40.5% women
- 31.3% men
Five-year grad rates
- 55.2% women
- 48.7% men
Six-year grad rates
- 66.4% women
- 58.5% men
Why Such Low Grad Rates?
There are many reasons why grad rates are so low. Out here is California, for instance, many students at state universities often can’t get their classes. An inability to obtain classes leads to more students dropping out or switching to part-time status which leads to lower grad rates.
Here’s another reason: some marginal students should never have aimed for a four-year college. Eighty percent of students in the bottom quarter of their high school classes never earn a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Many drop out of college with student debt which can be a financial disaster. I wrote about this phenomenon yesterday on my CBS MoneyWatch college blog.
Check Rates Before Finalizing the College List
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price (2nd edition), which was released last month.