The idea behind the 50-50 school listing is to identify colleges that meet a basic standard, graduation rates, while accepting more students than they reject. However, acceptance rates of 50% or better do not guarantee accessibility for many students. The fact is that the majority of the 50-50 schools are private and not all are generous with their financial aid.
Approximately 70% of full-time students attending four-year colleges, are at public universities and colleges. The United States as a society has looked to its public universities as the great equalizer, providing access to a quality higher education for those who couldn’t afford it otherwise.
Public University Graduation Rates
Never mind the fact that with the cost of attendance at many state institutions approaching $30,000, they may not be as accessible as they once were. Ultimately, if students don’t graduate, there is no “equalizing” benefit. Of the 671 public four-year institutions in the United States, only 209 report a five-year graduation rate of 49% or better. Of those, 34 accept less than 49% of students.
However, this is an improvement from two years ago when only 193 public institutions were graduating half of their students. Two years ago, nine states, including the District of Columbia, didn’t have any public institution with a 49% or better graduation rate. Now only six are without such institutions. In California, the number of public universities with graduation rates of 49% or better has increased from 12 to 16 and seven instead of only 4 admit 49% of students.
Overall, New York has the most colleges graduating at least half of students in five years with 20 schools (excluding military academies.) Pennsylvania follows with 19, California with 16, and Virginia with 11.
Texas has the most public universities where less than half of students graduates in five year for a total of 39 institutions out of 43. Florida is next with 33, followed by Ohio with 26 and Georgia with 25.
The following table lists public four-institutions with 500 or more full-time undergraduates and a five-year graduation rate of 49% or better.
Public Universities Where at Least Half of Students Graduate