For some students, getting out of college can be just as difficult as getting in.
A change in majors, a financial setback or other unplanned circumstances can cause students to delay graduation by months or years. Most undergrads aren't graduating in four years anymore, data show. Only 59 percent of students who started at four-year schools in the fall of 2006 graduated by 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Undergrads at a few schools, however, are more likely to stick to the traditional four-year timeline. At Carleton College and Georgetown University, the average four-year graduation rate for full-time, first-time bachelor's degree-seeking students who started in fall 2008 is 91 percent. These schools had the highest four-year graduation rate among 1,235 colleges and universities that submitted data to U.S. News in an annual survey. Pomona College, which topped this list in the past with a 92.8 percent four-year graduation rate, barely made the top 10 with a now 90.1 percent rate. Among the 10 schools with the highest four-year graduation rate, an average rate of 90.4 percent of students finished on time. This rate is almost 50 percentage points higher than the average rate for all schools that submitted data.
The schools with highest graduation rates are also highly ranked. Princeton University, for example, has a 90.2 percent four-year graduation rate and is ranked No. 1 among National Universities. National Universities are committed to ground-breaking research and offer a range of degree options for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.
Below are the 10 colleges and universities with the highest four-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time bachelor's degree seeking students who started school in fall of 2008. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find graduation data, complete rankings and much more.
Source: U.S. News & World Report
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