50-50 College Update-or Colleges You Can Get Into and Graduation From

University road sign representing 50-50 colleges(Updated for 2020) I just finished updating the list of 50-50 colleges with the latest IPEDS data release and thought I would share some statistically non-significant (as far as I know) observations. For those who don’t know what I mean by 50-50 colleges, these are colleges that accept at least 49% of students and have at least a 49% graduation rate. There are currently 525 such institutions with at least 500 or more full-time undergraduates.

The reason this is such a big deal is that it represents less than a third of all four-year colleges. If you include schools that accept less than 49%, you add another 153 colleges to the list. That’s still well less than half of all four-year schools. So, yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

If you want a copy of the list, you can download it here.

More 50-50 Colleges in More States

Now for the interesting information I was talking about. There is only one state without a 50-50 schools compared to three from last year. Nevada and Wyoming both added public schools to the list. The total number of private schools increased from 295 to 325 and the public from 185 to 201.

50-50 College Listing totals by state

Pennsylvania has the most 50-50 schools with 60 institutions, 40 private and 20 public. New York is second with 47 colleges followed by Massachusetts with 32. California and Ohio round out the top five with 27 and 24 each respectively making the list.

Of the 40 schools that dropped from the list, all but 11 were because of a decrease in graduation rates. I added another 86 colleges that didn’t make the list last year.

More Small Colleges than Larger Ones

There are a lot more smaller 50-50 colleges than larger ones.

50-50 college count by size
This isn’t surprising since the same is true of colleges in general. I’ve brought this up before, if you want more college choices, you need to consider smaller schools.

Furthermore, if you want more affordable college choices, you should consider smaller schools. Among private 50-50 colleges, the smaller, the lower the average net cost with the exception of the largest schools

50-50 colleges by size and average net price
The fact is that supply and demand exists in higher education. There are more smaller schools and they are less popular so they offer discounts. On the other hand, the popular Goldilocks schools, don’t have to offer lower prices to get students to attend.

Includes Test-Optional Colleges

For those looking for test optional colleges, there are 33 50-50 schools where the SAT/ACT is neither required nor recommended.

50-50 colleges by testing requirements


If you’re considering test optional schools, be sure to check if test scores are used in awarding merit aid. You may need it since it looks like test optional schools charge more. Private colleges where tests are neither required nor recommended had an average net price over $4,000 more than those where the tests are required.

50-50 colleges average net price by testing requirements
Maybe it’s to pay for the additional admissions staff to do holistic evaluations of applications.

All of this information is available in the 50-50 listing as well as athletic division, graduation rates, and acceptance rates. You can get the information on all colleges in the DIY College Rankings Spreadsheet.







50-50 College Update-or Colleges You Can Get Into and Graduation From

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