The Education Trust has made available an online tool to compare college graduation rates in each state. According to the Trust’s news release, the tool, hosted by DemocracyInAction.org, can help students and families identify the colleges and universities with the best — and the worst — graduation rates. It shows that colleges and universities with very similar student bodies can get very different results for their students.
“Nationally, college graduation rates are far too low, especially for students of color. But institutions all over the country are proving it doesn’t have to be that way. Some colleges and universities are achieving much higher graduation rates than are similar colleges and universities,” states the release.
The tool can compare rates for college completion within four, five or six years. The eye-opening reality is that the highest graduation rate in Alabama is 73.4% in six years, which is typical around the nation. Among public universities, the highest grad rate within four years is only 37.9%.
The tool is not only intended to help families choose the best colleges, but also to illustrate the need for higher rigor in high school to better prepare for college entry, retention and completion.
According to the Center for Public Education, completing higher levels of mathematics (pre-calculus, calculus and math higher than Algebra II) and taking more advanced placement courses increased the students persistence to remain in a four-year program by 10 percent — the increase is higher for two-year institutions, at 18 percent.
The data analysis concluded that, “Just by taking these high-level courses (in high school) low-income, low-achieving students improved their college persistence rates close to their high-income, high-achieving peers,” which supports the theory that higher rigor in high school for all students aids in closing the achievement gap while increasing total number of students finishing college.
Click here to access the College Comparison Tool.
Click here to jump directly to Alabama College comparisons.