An Evaluation of the Factors Influencing College Graduation Rate

Presented by:
Mary Jane Uzzi & Lu Li (Grinnell College)

Since many people think of a college degree as one of the essential steps on the road to success, we explored the factors that may be associated with the 6-year graduation rate of U.S. colleges and universities that grant at least a bachelor's degree and are not majority online. Our findings are: (a) there is no significant difference among graduation rates in women-only, men-only, and co-ed colleges, (b) there are significant differences in graduation rates among White, Asian, Hispanic, and Black students, (c) a strong correlation exists between average SAT score and graduation rate, and (d) our regression model including household income, average SAT score, and percentage of pell grant students explains over half of the variance in graduation rate. We conducted a cross-sectional observational study which showed that race, household income, average SAT score, and percentage of Pell grant students may be related to a school's graduation rate, but whether a school is coeducational is not.