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Posted at 3:23 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Eight of top 25 public college grad rates are in Md., Va.

By Daniel de Vise

I have posted before on the strikingly high graduation rates at top public universities in Virginia and Maryland. One could make a case, for example, that the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary are the two best state universities in terms of college completion.

Here's another entry in that category. Lynn O'Shaughnessy, a journalist and blogger, has compiled a list of the 25 public colleges and universities of any type with the highest four-year (not six-year) graduation rates. The list lumps the service academies together with research universities such as U-Va. and liberal arts schools such as St. Mary's College of Maryland.

And, voila, we learn that Virginia and Maryland together have eight of those top 25 institutions.

Note that her method -- using a four-year completion rate -- favors schools serving full-time students who can afford to stay at the same school for four years, a scenario common among middle-class suburbanites but not typical of the nation as a whole.

Here is her list.

1. United States Naval Academy, graduation rate 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%

Where's the University of Texas? Indiana University? The University of Washington?

I looked up UT. Its six-year graduation rate is 80 percent. But its four-year rate is just 50 percent. Does that make UT somehow less than world-class? Or is this about the undeniable allure of Austin?

On a related theme, Maryland leaders gathered this week to formally adopt the goal of 55 percent college completion by 2025, a mark that several of its institutions have already met.


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By Daniel de Vise  | February 2, 2011; 3:23 PM ET
Categories:  Attainment, Publics, Rankings  | Tags:  college completion, completion rates, graduation rates, public university completion rates, top colleges  
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Comments

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which his on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskin, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a change to gain valuable experience and contacts for a future job. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students. Just an perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

One reason that some universities (particularly larger state supported institutions that have many technology programs such as engineering) have lower four-year graduation rates but still seem to be respectable on the five or six-year measures, is because many of their students participate in robust co-op programs. For these programs, especially at engineering schools, a large chunk of students take five years to graduate, in order to fit all of the hours, quarters, and/or semesters required for their co-op program, which means on-the-job training (usually with pay) combined with studies. Far from being at a disadvantage, these co-op students may take a year longer on average to get their sheepskins, but they usually land high-paying jobs with the tech firms or government agencies with whom they served their co-op hours, immediately upon graduation. Additionally, most co-ops (unlike internships) are paid, so going this route can help offset the cost of college while also giving students a chance to gain valuable professional experience and contacts for a future job. Another thing to consider is that many of the most exciting, high paying technical organizations currently hiring require a security clearance. The co-op students -- those taking five years to graduate -- will often have already had a chance to complete the process for receiving a highly valuable security clearance during their co-op, thus opening up even more job opportunities to them. Meanwhile, their liberal arts cohorts from some of the less technical schools are still searching for jobs since graduating a year before the tech students, or if they are techies who didn't co-op, they have to wait months on background checks and security clearances, while their fellow co-op grads are already hired. This is one reason why Virginia Tech's engineering program is generally more highly regarded than UVA's -- it has a much more robust co-op program. Its engineering and other techie students may take a little longer to graduate, but they are much more likely to land that first job right out of engineering school, due to the contacts they made during their co-op experience. Just a perspective that I think you forgot to analyze in your blog...The days of just going for a school for the prestige factor should be over. I am involved in hiring for my firm, and we go for the combination of experience and education and someone who is already cleared over a recent grad from a prestigiouis place but with no experience or clearance.

Posted by: MoMto3 | February 7, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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