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Graduation Rates

Graduation cap and diploma

Graduation Rates

  • Graduation rates have increasingly become a favorite outcome measure for the quality of colleges and universities. However much debate exists as to whether current efforts of tracking graduation rates provide an accurate picture of college completion. ACE is engaged in a number of activities to help develop a more comprehensive measure of student success in persisting and completing their college education.

Featured Content

  • Document

    College Graduation Rates: Behind the Numbers cover image

    College Graduation Rates: Behind the Numbers

    College Graduation Rates: Behind the Numbers provides a layperson’s guide to the most common databases used to calculate these rates, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. In addition, the report suggests several factors for policymakers to consider before using graduation rates from existing databases to assess institutional success.

Previous Content

  • Video

    March 5, 2013

    VIDEO: Kirwan Addresses Social Equity and College Completion in 2013 Atwell Lecture

    William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, opened ACE’s 95th Annual Meeting yesterday with the Robert H. Atwell Lecture, “The Completion Imperative: Harnessing Change to Meet Our Responsibilities.”

  • Content Item

    November 8, 2012

    ACE, National Student Clearinghouse Explore More Comprehensive Graduation Rate

    A new analysis of postsecondary graduation rates by ACE finds that markedly more students have actually completed or are still pursuing their education than is indicated by the current federal method of reporting graduation rates.

  • Document

    November 8, 2012

    Incomplete Completers: Analysis of a Comprehensive Graduation Rate

    This new analysis of postsecondary graduation rates by ACE finds that markedly more students have actually completed or are still pursuing their education than is indicated by the current federal method of reporting graduation rates.

  • Document

    July 30, 2012

    Educational Attainment of Population Ages 25-34 in OECD Countries in 2009 (Percent of Population)

    Analysis compiled from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Education at a Glance 2011, and prepared by the ACE Center for Policy Research and Strategy.

  • Document

    August 14, 2003

    Student Success: Understanding Graduation and Persistence Rates

    This issue brief discusses and clarifies some of the conflicting reports on student persistence and graduation from postsecondary education. Institutional reports reporting graduation and retention rates at single institutions do not fully capture the many students who transfer to other academic institutions. Including such transfers reveals much different persistence and completion from colleges in the U.S.

  • Document

    An Open Letter to College and University Leaders: College Completion Must Be Our Priority

    The National Commission on Higher Education Attainment calls upon their colleagues to make retention and completion a critical campus priority to stem the unacceptable loss of human potential represented by the number of students who never make it to graduation. An Open Letter to College and University Leaders provides a blueprint for a campus-level college completion campaign designed to prevent students from falling by the wayside as they pursue a college degree. Campus leaders are urged to consider three main areas for reform: changing the campus culture, improving cost-effectiveness and quality, and making better use of data. The letter includes possible strategies to advance the goal of increased attainment.