Completion: Improvements, Declines, and Gaps in Performance

Since the early 1990s, most states have increased the number of students earning certificates and degrees as a proportion of state residents without a college degree. However, overall rates of completion have remained fairly low and even the performance of the best states in this area is not impressive. For example, in the top states only 68% of students at four-year institutions complete a bachelor’s degree within six years of enrolling.

Key Indicator:  All degree completions per 100 students

Improvement    48 states improved or stayed the same on the key indicator Declined    2 states declined on the key indicator

Improvements

First-time, full-time students completing a bachelor’s degree within six years of college entrance

Idaho 33% to 43%
Louisiana 33% to 42%
Nebraska 44% to 56%
Kentucky 37% to 47%

Certificates and degrees awarded at all colleges and universities per 1,000 state residents (ages 18 to 44) without a college degree

Kentucky 15 to 32
Georgia 15 to 27
Arkansas 15 to 24
West Virginia 18 to 27

 

Gaps

First-time, full-time students completing a bachelor’s degree within six years of college entrance

  Whites Blacks
Delaware 73% 41%
Illinois 65% 34%
Maryland 73% 42%
Michigan 58% 32%
 
  Whites Hispanics
Illinois 65% 45%
New Jersey 66% 49%
New York 63% 43%
Texas 56% 38%
 
  Whites Native Americans
New Mexico 47% 25%
North Dakota 48% 17%
Washington 65% 41%