Minnesota’s nonprofit private colleges fourth in graduation rates

Minnesota’s nonprofit private colleges have tied for fourth nationally in the percentage of students who complete school in four years, according to data published this month by the Minnesota Private College Council.

The colleges had average four-year grad rates of 62 percent.

(Note: Measured by another, probably more accurate way — not ranked by groupings — Minnesota ties for seventh place. )

That puts Minnesota on par with New Hampshire, but behind Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Maryland was first on the list with a graduation rate of 66 percent.

For those who attended the council’s 17 private liberal arts colleges — a subset of the state’s private nonprofit institutions — the number was even higher: 65 percent.

Nonprofit colleges outside the council had a graduation rate of 39 percent.

Council President Paul Cerkvenik says graduating in four years is a key way to cut costs:

“If a student does not graduate in four years, they incur additional tuition, and room-and-board and living expense costs, and that studies show that they tend to graduate, in the end, with higher levels of student debt.”

And, he said, it pays in other ways as well:

“A student who does not graduate on time foregoes a year or two of earnings that they could have with their college degree if they had graduated on time.”

The state tied for fourth place last year, though its rate was one percentage point higher. Other states’ rates dropped slightly as well.

According to data supplied by the council, the University of Minnesota had an average four-year graduation rate of 44 percent. And state universities had a rate of 22 percent.