Skip Navigation

Graduation rates

What are the graduation rates for students obtaining a bachelor's degree?


The 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor's degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2008 was 60 percent. That is, 60 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor's degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2008 completed the degree at that institution by 2014. The 6-year graduation rate was 58 percent at public institutions, 65 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 27 percent at private for-profit institutions. The 6-year graduation rate was 57 percent for males and 62 percent for females; it was higher for females than for males at both public (61 vs. 55 percent) and private nonprofit institutions (68 vs. 62 percent). However, at private for-profit institutions, males had a higher 6-year graduation rate than females (28 vs. 25 percent).

Six-year graduation rates for first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor's degree in fall 2008 varied according to institutional selectivity. In particular, 6-year graduation rates were highest at postsecondary degree-granting institutions that were the most selective (i.e., had the lowest admissions acceptance rates), and were lowest at institutions that were the least selective (i.e., had open admissions policies). For example, at 4-year institutions with open admissions policies, 36 percent of students completed a bachelor's degree within 6 years. At 4-year institutions where the acceptance rate was less than 25 percent of applicants, the 6-year graduation rate was 89 percent.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). The Condition of Education 2016 (NCES 2016-144), Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates.

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

Other Resources:  (Listed by Release Date)