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Undergraduate graduation rates

What are the graduation rates for students obtaining an undergraduate degree?


In 2020, the overall 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at 4-year degree-granting institutions in fall 2014 was 64 percent. That is, by 2020, some 64 percent of students had completed a bachelor’s degree at the same institution where they started in 2014. The 6-year graduation rate was 63 percent at public institutions, 68 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 29 percent at private for-profit institutions. The overall 6-year graduation rate was 60 percent for males and 67 percent for females. The 6-year graduation rate was higher for females than for males at both public (66 vs. 60 percent) and private nonprofit (71 vs. 64 percent) institutions. However, at private for-profit institutions, males had a higher 6-year graduation rate than females (31 vs. 28 percent).

Two-year institutions generally focus on providing student instruction and related activities through a range of career-oriented programs at the certificate and associate’s degree levels and preparing students to transfer to 4-year institutions. Among first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a certificate or associate’s degree at 2-year degree-granting institutions in fall 2017, about 34 percent attained their credential within 150 percent of the normal time required for completion of these programs. An example of completing a credential within 150 percent of the normal time is completing a 2-year degree within 3 years. Among the same cohort, another 14 percent had transferred to another institution within 150 percent of normal completion time.1 Meanwhile, 10 percent remained enrolled in their first institution after 150 percent time. The remaining students who entered 2-year institutions in 2017 were no longer enrolled in their first institution and had not been reported as a transfer at a different institution (42 percent).

1 Transfer out data are required to be reported only by those institutions for which preparation for transfers is a substantial part of the institution’s mission.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from

Numbers in figure titles reflect original numeration from source Condition of Education indicators.

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