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Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 12/ 6/2010

U-Va., William and Mary grad rates are nation's best

By Daniel de Vise

Updated 12/7 with Chronicle citation corrected.

The University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary rank one and two in the nation among public research universities for their graduation rates, according to an analysis of new federal data through 2008 by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

U-Va. and William and Mary also had the top graduation rates in their institutional class in 2007, and 2006, and in each of the three years before that. The graduation rate hovers between 92 and 93 percent at U-Va. and between 89 and 91 percent at William and Mary.

The third- and fourth-highest grad rates are at UCLA and Berkeley, which consistently fall just below the two "public Ivys" with completion rates in the high 80s.

Both Virginia institutions are routinely named among the nation's top public universities, along with the aforementioned California schools, the University of Michigan (fifth on this year's grad-rate list) and a few others. But on this metric -- the share of students who finish their degrees within six years of enrolling -- they are unsurpassed.

Harvard and Yale rank one and two for graduation rate among private national universities, with 2008 rates of 98 and 97 percent, respectively.

In the category of public master's universities, often overlooked by the general public, James Madison University ranks second in the nation by the Chronicle analysis, with an 82-percent completion rate. The University of Mary Washington ranks fourth, at 77 percent.

In the similarly overlooked category of private master's institutions, Loyola University Maryland ranks second nationally, with an 86-percent completion rate.

A Chronicle analysis of nearly 1,400 four-year institutions finds -- and I'll use their exact words -- "that one-third reported lower graduation rates for the six-year period ending in 2008 than for the one ending in 2003."

Overall, though, the median graduation rate rose two points, to about 53 percent, in that span.

Also, check out this related analysis from the Institute for College Access and Success.

Local schools fared relatively well. Here's a list of some not mentioned above:

University of Maryland: 82 percent, up a remarkable 11 points between 2003 and 2008.

Virginia Tech: 78 percent, up four points.

George Mason: 61 percent, up fully 12 points since 2003.

UMBC: 59 percent, up five points.

Georgetown: 93 percent, unchanged since 2003.

Johns Hopkins: 89 percent, up one point.

George Washington University: 81 percent, up six points.

American University: 76 percent, up four points.

Catholic University: 71 percent, up two points.

Towson University: 66 percent, up 10 points.

Washington and Lee University: 89 percent, unchanged.

University of Richmond: 87 percent, up five points.

Washington College: 80 percent, up 14 points.

Follow College Inc. on Twitter.

By Daniel de Vise  | December 6, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Attainment, Research  | Tags:  Maryland college graduation rates, UVA graduation rate, Virginia college graduation rates, William Mary graduation rate, college completion rates, college graduation rates  
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Next: Md., Va. grad rates exceed national average


Maybe I missed it in the article, but is this the 4 year graduation rate? Or 6 year graduation rate reported in most college guides?

Posted by: toddw1 | December 9, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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