Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from US Department of Education
- Graduation rates vary widely among US colleges and universities.
- Using data from the Department of Education, we found a weighted average of graduation rates for colleges and universities located in each state and DC.
- Colleges in many states in the South and Mountain West had relatively low graduation rates.
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Colleges across the US have different graduation rates, and as the map above shows, those rates vary from state to state.
The Department of Education provides data on the share of undergraduate students who complete their degree within 150% of the expected time — that is, graduating within six years for a standard four-year bachelor’s degree. For each state, we took an average of those graduation rates among all the colleges and universities in that state that mainly award bachelor’s degrees, as opposed to certificate programs or associates degrees.
Those graduation rates were among first-time, full-time students who entered college in the 2011-2012 academic year, six years before the 2017-2018 year, the most recent year for which data was available. State rates were calculated by taking the average rate among all schools in-state, weighted by the size of each school’s entering class in 2011.
Here are the 15 states with the lowest weighted average college graduation rate:
15. Alabama: 51.8% of students at colleges in Alabama graduated within six years.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Prominent colleges in Alabama include Auburn and the University of Alabama.
14. South Dakota: 51.5% of students at colleges in South Dakota graduated within six years.
University of South Dakota/Facebook
Prominent colleges in South Dakota include South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota.
13. Tennessee: 50.7% of students at colleges in Tennessee graduated within six years.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Prominent colleges in Tennessee include Vanderbilt, the University of Memphis, and the University of Tennessee.
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