Chapter 2. School-Related Characteristics

Indicator 23. International College Graduation Rates

In 2008, countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had an average first-time college graduation rate of 38 percent (meaning the percentage of persons within a specific age cohort who obtain a qualification from a given level of education). Of the 24 countries in 2008 that reported first-time college graduation rates, 12 had higher rates and 11 had lower rates than that of the United States (37 percent). Finland had the highest graduation rate (63 percent), followed by the Slovak Republic and Iceland (57 percent each). Of those countries that reported rates in 2008, the three with the lowest graduation rates were Luxembourg (5 percent), Mexico (18 percent), and Turkey (20 percent). Between 1995 and 2008, the OECD average graduation rate increased from 20 to 38 percent, but for some countries the increase was more substantial than for others. Of the countries that reported rates in both years, Finland and the Slovak Republic had the greatest increases (42 percentage points each), while Spain and the United States exhibited the least change (9 and 4 percentage points, respectively).

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