Report College Graduation Rates Run Gamut From Great To Dismal

06.03.09 | FL News Team

It takes 53-percent of students attending four-year colleges six years to graduate. The American Enterprise Institute says that 53-percent national average might actually produce bragging rights for some universities. The report from the conservative think-tank is full of extremes with figures based on the one-point-two-million freshmen who began their studies at a four-year institution in 2001.

Harvard University logs a 97-percent graduation rate while Southern University at New Orleans reports only 8-percent of those who enroll eventually collect a degree.  Southern University was, of course, affected in a huge way by Hurricane Katrina four years ago.

Among the lowest rated colleges and universities in terms of graduation are Texas Southern University and Vorhees College in South Carolina, both with 12-percent graduation rates. Among the best are College of Our Lady of the Elms in Massachusetts at 89-percent and Yeshiva University in New York at 84-percent.

There are wide variations cited in the report even among colleges with similar admission requirements. Among those that only require a high school diploma for admission are two in Washington state. Heritage University has a 53-percent graduation rate after four years. Walla Walla University reports 17-percent

John Carroll University in Cleveland requires a high school grade average of B-minus or better for admission. It graduates 74-percent of students while Chicago State University in Illinois with the same admission requirement graduates just 16-percent in four years.

The report says when parents and students are considering colleges "it's fair to ask why" similar schools have such a huge variation in graduation rates. The full report which includes graduation rates, enrollments, fees and more is available today on the American Enterprise Institute Website, aei.org.