People are generally a little surprised when I recommend using 50% as the minimum graduation rate for looking for colleges. It does seem like a pretty low standard but the fact is that only approximately a quarter of colleges and universities have a four-year graduation rate of 49% or higher. If you use the five-year rate for public institutions, than then number increases to about a third of all schools.
According to the Integrated Public Education Data System (IPEDS), there were 606 public and private non-profit schools with 500 or more full-time graduates and a graduation rate of 49% or higher. I use the four-year rate for private schools and the five-year rate for public institutions.
States with Colleges with the Best Graduation Rates
What if you’re interested in schools with a better chance of graduation, say 70% or higher? The possibilities narrow to just 199 colleges and universities. A total of 20 states don’t have any colleges with four-year graduation rates 70% or better. There 28 states without any public universities with that attain such graduation rates. A total of 22 states don’t have any private colleges that have at least a 70% graduation rate.
The good news is that 87 of the 194 schools qualify as 50-50 schools. There are 37 public universities with five-year graduation rates of 70% or better and accept at least 49% of applicants. Among private schools, 50 qualified as 50-50 schools. Massachusetts and New York had to most colleges with nine each having graduation rates of 70% or better. Pennsylvania followed with a total of eight.
The following table lists 50-50 colleges with the best graduation rates. As usual, the four-year rate is used for private schools and the five-year rate for public schools.