Diplomas and Dropouts: Which Colleges Actually Graduate Their Students (and Which Don't)
Few colleges actually graduate a majority of their students according to a new study by the American Enterprise Institute. In the fall of 2001, nearly 1.2 million freshmen began college at a four-year institution of higher education somewhere in the United States.
Six years after the first class of the new millennium left for college, many of those same students were absent from commencement ceremonies and would never stroll across the graduation stage, not because they had already finished by the spring of 2007 but because they were still struggling to earn enough credits, or they had dropped out of college altogether, or they had transferred and were lost according to the way we count graduation rates.
The south had the distinction of housing institutions with some of the lowest graduation rates. At the noncompetitive level, none of the five institutions with the lowest graduation rates in the region surpass 20%. At the less competitive level, schools like South University in Georgia and Edward Waters College in Florida graduate well under 15% of their students.
In Southwest Florida, FGCU had a graduation rate of 35% with tuition at $7656 yearly. Hodges University in Fort Myers came in at 35% also, but tuition is $10,238. Florida State graduated 69%, tuition at $3355, and the University of Florida had the best graduation rate of 81% with tuition at $3257.
Overall, of the seventy-eight schools in the south classified as noncompetitive or less competitive, only six (less than 8%) have graduation rates higher than 50%. In contrast, not one of the twenty-nine schools rated highly competitive or most competitive failed to graduate half of their first-time students. Florida had a state graduation rate average of 48.0%, with a low of 9% at Edward Waters College to a high of 81% at the University of Florida.
For a complete listing of all college graduation rates and tuition rates by state: