Top 25 State Universities for Graduating on Time

Last Updated Feb 1, 2011 1:41 AM EST

You can cut your college costs by graduating in four year. Sounds simple, but most college students don't graduate from college within the traditional four years.

In fact, an alarming number of students don't graduate in SIX years. According to federal statistics, only 57% of full-time college students graduate within SIX years.

Private colleges and universities have better, but not great four-year grad rates. Nearly 48% of students graduate in four years from private schools. The vast majority of students in this country, however, attend public institutions where the average four-year grad is a measly 27%.

Using the federal education database known as IPEDS, I compiled the following list of the 25 public colleges and universities with the best graduation rates. As you can see, the service academies do extremely well on this list. Virginia schools also shine. Four Virginia state institutions - University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, University of Mary Washington and James Madison University - make the top 10! I wish other states would find out what Virginia is doing right.

25 Public Universities with Best Four-Year Grad Rates

  1. United States Naval Academy 86%
  2. University of Virginia 85%
  3. College of William and Mary 82%
  4. United Air Force Academy 79%
  5. United State Military Academy 76%
  6. United State Coast Guard Academy 75%
  7. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 73%
  8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 70%
  9. University of Mary Washington 70%
  10. James Madison University 68%
  11. Miami University (OH) 68%
  12. The College of New Jersey 68%
  13. St. Mary's College of Maryland 67%
  14. University of Delaware 67%
  15. UCLA 65%
  16. University of California, Berkeley 64%
  17. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 64%
  18. SUNY at Binghamton, NY 64%
  19. United State Merchant Marines 64%
  20. University of Maryland-College Park 63%
  21. University of California, Irvine 60%
  22. Penn State University-Main Campus 60%
  23. Citadel Military College of South Carolina 59%
  24. Virginia Military Institute 59%
  25. SUNY at Geneseo, NY 58%
In my next post, I'll share the public colleges and universities with the worst four-year grad rates.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
William and Mary College image by Kansas Sebastian. CC 2.0.