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The University of Georgia tops the list of most improved colleges in terms of graduation rates. Paul Efland—University of Georgia

The 14 Most Improved Public Colleges in the U.S.

Dec 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.

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

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