The University of Georgia tops the list of most improved colleges in terms of graduation rates.
Paul Efland—University of Georgia
By Kim Clark
December 17, 2015

Here’s some encouraging college news: Most colleges are getting better at educating and supporting students through to graduation.

A new study of college graduation rates by the Education Trust, a Washington, D.C., think tank, has found that most colleges have raised their graduation rates during the last decade. And, overall, beleaguered public colleges have improved the most. Today, 58% of freshmen at public colleges earn bachelor’s degrees within six years. While that might not sound impressive, it’s almost 5 percentage points higher than the rate from a decade ago.

Importantly, colleges are also generally a doing a better job of helping minority students graduate, the report found. Over the last decade, the graduation rates for Latino students has risen more than 7%, and the rate for African-American students has risen more than 4%.

A MONEY analysis of the data shows that 14 public colleges stand out as the most rapidly improving high-value colleges in the nation. These colleges all currently have above-average graduation rates, have raised their graduation rates for all students by at least 10% since 2003, and have reduced the achievement gap disparities among races over that time.

MONEY ranks colleges on a combination of educational quality, affordability, and the financial success of graduates.

college Money rank Graduation rate*
University of Georgia 68 83%
San Diego State University 116 66%
California State University-Long Beach 121 60%
Ohio State University-Main Campus 134 83%
University at Buffalo 147 72%
University of Central Florida 367 67%
Temple University 399 66%
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania 437 63%
Grand Valley State University 473 70%
Georgia State University 483 53%
Ferris State University 509 43%
SUNY Oneonta 525 70%
University of Minnesota-Morris 566 63%
Virginia Commonwealth University 659 57%

*As of 2013, the last year for which federal data is currently available.

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