The 15 US states with the highest college graduation rates

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Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from US Department of Education

  • Graduation rates vary widely among US colleges and universities.
  • Using data from the Department of Education, we found a weighted average of graduation rates for colleges and universities located in each state and DC.
  • Colleges in coastal states and Iowa had very high graduation rates.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Colleges across the US have different graduation rates, and as the map above shows, those rates vary from state to state.

The Department of Education provides data on the share of undergraduate students who complete their degree within 150% of the expected time – that is, graduating within six years for a standard four-year bachelor’s degree. For each state, we took an average of those graduation rates among all the colleges and universities in that state that mainly award bachelor’s degrees, as opposed to certificate programs or associates degrees.

Those graduation rates were among first-time, full-time students who entered college in the 2011-2012 academic year, six years before the 2017-2018 year, the most recent year for which data was available. State rates were calculated by taking the average rate among all schools in-state, weighted by the size of each school’s entering class in 2011.

Colleges and universities in Washington, DC, had a higher weighted average than in any state, and since we are focusing on states, DC is omitted from the following list.

Here are the 15 states with the highest weighted average college graduation rate:


15. California: 64.1% of students at colleges in California graduated within six years.

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Shutterstock

California has dozens of prominent colleges, including Southern California University, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California state-run system.


14. Minnesota: 64.9% of students at colleges in Minnesota graduated within six years.

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Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Prominent colleges include the University of Minnesota, which has its flagship campus in Minneapolis.


13. Delaware: 65.3% of students at colleges in Delaware graduated within six years.

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Wikimedia Commons

Prominent colleges in Delaware include the University of Delaware and Wilmington University.


12. New York: 66.0% of students at colleges in New York graduated within six years.

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Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Prominent colleges in New York include Columbia University, New York University, and the City University of New York system.


13. New Jersey: 66.3% of students at colleges in New Jersey graduated within six years.

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Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Prominent colleges in New Jersey include Princeton University and Rutgers.


10. Virginia: 67.0% of students at colleges in Virginia graduated within six years.

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Michele/Flickr

Prominent colleges in Virginia include the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia.


9. Pennsylvania: 67.0% of students at colleges in Pennsylvania graduated within six years.

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Tupungato/Shutterstock

Prominent colleges in Pennsylvania include Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Carnegie Mellon.


8. Vermont: 67.1% of students at colleges in Vermont graduated within six years.

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Facebook/University of Vermont

Prominent colleges in Vermont include the University of Vermont and Norwich University.


7. New Hampshire: 67.7% of students at colleges in New Hampshire graduated within six years.

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Dan Lewis/Shutterstock

Prominent colleges in New Hampshire include Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire.


6. Connecticut: 68.0% of students at colleges in Connecticut graduated within six years.

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Reuters

Prominent colleges in Connecticut include Yale, Quinnipiac, and the University of Connecticut.


5. Maryland: 68.3% of students at colleges in Maryland graduated within six years.

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Wikimedia Commons

Prominent universities in Maryland include Johns Hopkins, Towson, and the University of Maryland.


4. Iowa: 68.5% of students at colleges in Iowa graduated within six years.

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Flickr / SD Dirk

Prominent colleges in Iowa include Grinnell College, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa.


3. Washington: 69.3% of students at colleges in Washington graduated within six years.

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Mike Peters/Shutterstock

Prominent colleges in Washington include the University of Washington and Eastern Washington University.


2. Rhode Island: 71.1% of students at colleges in Rhode Island graduated within six years.

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jiawangkun/Shutterstock

Prominent colleges in Rhode Island include Brown University and the University of Rhode Island.


1. Massachusetts: 73.5% of students at colleges in Massachusetts graduated within six years.

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Shutterstock/Marcio Jose Bastos Silva

Prominent colleges in Massachusetts include Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard.