50-50 Highlights: Colleges with the Highest Graduation Rates

graduating students from colleges with the highest graduation ratesPeople 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 589 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.

What if you’re interested in schools with a better chance of graduation, say 70% or higher? The possibilities narrow to just 194 colleges and universities. A total of 17 states don’t have any colleges with four-year graduation rates 70% or better.

The good news is that 80 of the 194 schools qualify as 50-50 schools. There are 29 public universities with five-year graduation rates of 70% or better and accept at least 49% of applicants. Among private schools, 51 qualified as 50-50 schools. The following table lists 50-50 colleges with the highest graduation rates. As usual, the four-year rate is used for private schools and the five-year rate for public schools.

50-50 Colleges with the Highest Graduation Rates

4/5 yr
Villanova UniversityPrivatePA65478649
Pennsylvania State University-Main CampusPublicPA388268354
Providence CollegePrivateRI37988360
St Olaf CollegePrivateMN30818359
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignPublicIL315168262
Stonehill CollegePrivateMA24588271
Ohio State University-Main CampusPublicOH400208156
University of ConnecticutPublicCT172198154
Gustavus Adolphus CollegePrivateMN24238163
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityPublicVA235128070
University of GeorgiaPublicGA247468056
Whitman CollegePrivateWA15058057
James Madison UniversityPublicVA175268064
Furman UniversityPrivateSC26778064
Centre CollegePrivateKY13788069
University of Wisconsin-MadisonPublicWI285687968
Clemson UniversityPublicSC160507958
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusPublicPA174837956
University of DelawarePublicDE168527965
Miami University-OxfordPublicOH150017967
Fairfield UniversityPrivateCT35467971
Loyola University MarylandPrivateMD39517958
University of Washington-Seattle CampusPublicWA270507855
University of New Hampshire-Main CampusPublicNH120637878
Bryant UniversityPrivateRI32007877
Wofford CollegePrivateSC15987869
St Mary's College of MarylandPublicMD17627872
Santa Clara UniversityPrivateCA53387751
Grove City CollegePrivatePA24387781
Elon UniversityPrivateNC54647754
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main CampusPublicGA132917655
Rutgers University-New BrunswickPublicNJ317597660
Clark UniversityPrivateMA22707662
Sewanee-The University of the SouthPrivateTN16027660
Texas A & M University-College StationPublicTX396417569
University of VermontPublicVT97647578
University of ScrantonPrivatePA37567575
Ursinus CollegePrivatePA15827566
College of Saint BenedictPrivateMN20157576
Michigan State UniversityPublicMI348387469
Florida State UniversityPublicFL289107457
Wheaton CollegePrivateIL23787469
Allegheny CollegePrivatePA21257465
Augustana CollegePrivateIL25097459
DePauw UniversityPrivateIN22807461
Hobart William Smith CollegesPrivateNY23247449
Rhodes CollegePrivateTN20147458
Siena CollegePrivateNY30077468
Indiana University-BloomingtonPublicIN310507472
University of Mary WashingtonPublicVA38437381
Maine Maritime AcademyPublicME9797265
Trinity UniversityPrivateTX21117264
Juniata CollegePrivatePA15557274
Westmont CollegePrivateCA12987270
Kalamazoo CollegePrivateMI14467267
Quinnipiac UniversityPrivateCT63077267
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesPrivateNY10597263
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityPrivateIL20017258
University of Massachusetts-AmherstPublicMA205057163
Gonzaga UniversityPrivateWA48267167
Messiah CollegePrivatePA27017166
Elizabethtown CollegePrivatePA18087170
Saint Anselm CollegePrivateNH18787174
Massachusetts College of Art and DesignPublicMA16777170
Ramapo College of New JerseyPublicNJ49927155
Knox CollegePrivateIL14007175
Saint Johns UniversityPrivateMN18507175
Susquehanna UniversityPrivatePA21297172
Wheaton CollegePrivateMA16457167
Willamette UniversityPrivateOR19817158
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaPublicSC225337061
Worcester Polytechnic InstitutePrivateMA39597052
University of PortlandPrivateOR34107067
Beloit CollegePrivateWI12547068
Moravian CollegePrivatePA14187080
Assumption CollegePrivateMA20227074
Truman State UniversityPublicMO53757072
Reed CollegePrivateOR13567049
Saint Joseph's UniversityPrivatePA44897079
The College of WoosterPrivateOH20777056

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