Graduation Rates Determine Higher Education Options for Students

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Graduation and retention rates are among the most important factors in choosing a college according to online education resource Just as important as academic reputation or cost, graduation rates indicate whether a school has adequate support systems in place to help students meet their higher education goals.

Graduation rates rank among the most important factors for choosing a school according to, a one-stop online education tool for campus-based or online degree programs. offers prospective college students the resources they need to sift through higher education options. ( identified college graduation and retention rates as a top priority when searching for a bachelor's or master's degree program. In many cases, a school's graduation rate outweighed other factors such as tuition, proximity to home, and academic reputation.

The College Board calls graduation rates one of the best ways to measure a school's quality and the satisfaction of its students. Professor and columnist Wendy Croix, Ph.D. explains, "It's important to find a college with strong support systems in place: academic counseling, social programs, and financial aid. A high retention and graduation rate is a sign that students are getting the support they need to realize their goals."

Today's prospective college students have a full range of information right at their fingertips. The Student Right-to-Know Act, finalized in 1999, requires postsecondary institutions to disclose information including graduation rates, financial assistance awarded, and crime statistics.

A study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics offers benchmarks for assessing college graduation rates. The average retention rate at four-year colleges nationwide is 65.1 percent, with 58.4 percent of students completing a bachelor's degree. The same figure for two-year institutions is 38.4 percent. Schools with a graduation rate above 60 percent are considered very selective. Continuing education and online programs often have higher graduation rates.

Higher education is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make. It is important to plan for success by taking advantage of all available information. Croix suggests using online resources such as to compare different schools. ( is a customized research tool that offers students access to the information they need to make the right decision. Students can tailor their search to a specific degree level from associate to graduate degrees, or they can choose to speak directly to a specific school's academic counselor. is a one-stop education resource for online and campus degree programs. Students can easily research career-track programs in Business, Accounting, Marketing, Technology, Management, Education, Nursing, and more.


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