Graduation Rates at the U.S. Colleges and Universities

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Peer-reviewed Sources

Guri, Patricia, Eric Den, Sylivia Hurtado, and Gerald Gurin. “Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes.” Harvard Education Review 72.3 (2002): 330-369. Print.

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Summary

The article examines the academic benefits of diversity of the student body. Guri, Den, Hurtado, and Gurin explore how diversity enriches student experiences through peer interactions, which translates into better academic outcomes and college completion rates (330). The article uses a framework comprising of two theories, namely, cognitive-behavioural and psychosocial perspectives, to explain how student diversity enhances cognitive growth in students (Guri et al. 331). It uses theories and performance data drawn from diverse student groups in the University of Michigan to support its claim that classroom diversity improves educational outcomes.

The authors further argue that affirmative action in institutions of higher learning is a valid approach of not only promoting access to university education, but also a way of improving student performance and completion rates. Besides data, the author uses excerpts from court rulings to support the claim that a diverse student body leads to improved academic outcomes (Guri et al. 334). Further evidence is drawn from student’s own assessments, faculty perspectives, and experiences to show that colleges with high diversity have greater graduation rates because diversity improves educational outcomes.

The authors hypothesize that diversity experiences in the classroom foster intellectual engagement of students. They use findings of social psychological research to support the argument that settings and curriculums that foster classroom diversity and interactions improve the thinking process in students, translating into better learning. Based on theory and research findings, the article concludes that diverse classrooms provide interaction opportunities that have benefits in terms of better performance and reduced delays in collegiate completion of students. They note that promoting diversity in the institutions of higher learning helps students learn from diverse perspectives, which enriches learning and attainment.

Key Paraphrases

  1. Diversity improves educational outcomes in higher education.
  2. Diversity enriches the experience of students because it promotes cross-cultural interactions.
  3. Cognitive-behavioral and psychosocial theories support that diversity improves cognitive growth of students.
  4. Diversity enriches learning among students in higher learning.
  5. Affirmative action is a way of enhancing diversity.
  6. There is a reduced delay in completion of education when there is diversity.
  7. Diversity influence thinking process among students, and thus, translating into better learning

Key Quotations

The article contains two key statements that I will quote in my essay. The authors write, “A diverse classroom environment fosters a learning environment that supports active thinking and intellectual engagement” (Guri et al. 341). They further write that, “Classroom diversity and diversity programming in the college environment constitute initiatives to enhance educational outcomes” (Guri et al. 358).

Evaluation

The article by Guri et al. has given me insights into the debate about the relationship diversity in higher institutions and academic outcomes (362). Two key features of the research are useful in my research. First, the article reviews theories on cognitive engagement to explain how diversity relates to academic outcomes. Second, the study involved a longitudinal survey of students to assess their academic performance and graduation rates. I now have a better understanding and a wider perspective on how classroom diversity leads to better grades, leading to higher graduation rates, a topic that forms the core of my research. The article’s strengths lie in the use of theory and survey results for cross-validation.

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Anstine, Jeff. “Graduation Rates at U.S. Colleges and Universities: A large Data Set Analysis.” Business Education & Accreditation 5.2 (2013): 55-65. Print.

Summary

The main claim in this article is that factors that affect graduation rates are not universal. Anstine recommends that institutions should adapt the programs meant to hasten graduation rate to their individual situations (56). According to the article, better faculty compensations are associated with higher graduation rates. Additionally, the college completion rate in public learning institutions is 10 percent lower than in private ones. Another claim in this article is that research and master programs offered by U.S. universities have high completion rates.

The author uses a range of sources to assess educational variables, such as graduation rate, faculty pay, and gender, among others. The data sources include agency reports, such as USNews, USDOE, and the AAUP, and past studies. Using regression analysis, the author shows that learning communities have no significant effect on collegiate completion of students studying liberal arts and masters programs. The evidence from the analysis shows that a student’s career interest coupled with faculty mentorship determines the learner’s success and the likelihood of completing his/her degree.

Another factor that the study found to influence graduation rates in colleges is the ratio of full-time lecturers to students. Compared to part-time instructors, full-time lecturers spend more time engaging students, which improves their educational outcomes. One key finding of this article is that programs, such as ‘learning communities’, which are meant to reduce delays in graduation are largely ineffective. Regression analysis of the data shows that favourable staff/student ratio, number of full-time lecturers, and staff compensation lead to improved graduation rates (Anstine 62).

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Key Phrases

  1. Learning institutions should adapt the programs meant to hasten graduation rate to their individual situations.
  2. Improved faculty compensations are associated with higher graduation rates.
  3. Establishing learning communities for freshmen is not only expensive, but it is also a time-consuming endeavour.
  4. Ratio of full-time lecturers to students influences educational performance.
  5. Programs, such as ‘learning communities,’ are largely ineffective in reducing delays.
  6. Favorable staff/student ratio, number of full-time lecturers, and staff compensation lead to improved graduation rates.
  7. A student’s career interest and faculty mentorship determine duration of completing degree.

Key Quotations

One key statement in the article might be useful in my paper. The author writes,Liberal arts colleges and research universities have higher graduation rates than comprehensive universities” (Anstine 58).

Evaluation

The article focuses on the efficacy of initiatives meant to improve graduation rates. Its findings show that graduation rates do not depend on the difficulty levels of a program, as master programs were found to have higher completion rates than liberal arts. The article reinforces my argument that education difficulty levels do not extend the period it takes students to graduate. One key contribution of this article to my research is that programs often considered difficulty have higher completion rates than simpler ones. Its use of multiple data sources and a survey of over 1,000 schools strengthen the article’s argument. Furthermore, it uses data from credible sources (government surveys). After reading this source, I now have a deeper understanding of the factors that improve college graduation rates.

Talbert, Patricia. “Strategies to Increase Enrollment, Retention, and Graduation Rates.” Journal of Developmental Education 36.1 (2012): 22-36. Print.

Summary

The article examines the declining college completion rate using a conceptual model involving the views of university administrators on how to enable students to stay in college and complete their studies on time. The main argument in this article is that improving graduation rates requires inclusive strategies to address the needs of minority students and freshmen (Talbert 23). The author uses two sets of evidence in support of this claim. The data cover programs running for between two and four years. Second, she analyses the strategic planning approaches presented by 104 administrators of higher learning institutions.

The article notes that the college completion rate is higher among minority students than Caucasians. It claims that peer interactions instill self-assurance and cognitive growth, which increase student persistence. To support this claim, the author uses student integration models described in past studies. She notes that social integration and mentorship programs in diverse learning environments promote student engagement and organizational commitment. The article makes three important findings related to graduation rate improvement. First, institutions should use strategies that track student failures and successes in the course of his/her study. Second, the strategies should focus on aligning programs that promote diversity and integration. Third, teaching strategies and curriculums should be designed in a way that increases learning in diverse contexts.

Key Phrases

  1. Affirmative action is necessary to address the needs of minority students and freshmen.
  2. The college completion rate is higher among minority students than Caucasians
  3. freshmen orientation programs that foster diversity lead to improved inclusivity in learning.
  4. Peer interactions instill self-assurance and cognitive growth, which increase student persistence
  5. Institutions should use strategies that track student failures and successes in the course of his/her study.
  6. The strategies should focus on aligning programs that promote diversity and integration.
  7. Teaching strategies and curriculums should be designed in a way that increases learning in diverse contexts.

Key Quotations

The author notes, “New student orientation programs that promote diversity are the gateway to student inclusiveness in academia” (Talbert 31). She also argues, “Peer interactions and associations influence students’ cognitive development, self-confidence, and motivation” (Talbert 23). These two statements will be useful in my paper.

Evaluation

The article gives important insights into how student diversity increases the academic outcomes of students. It also emphasizes the need for inclusivity in higher education as a way of promoting completion rates of students, especially minority populations. The finding that academic leaders recommend programs that promote student diversity and integration is relevant to my study, which focuses on diversity as a way of reducing delays in student graduation. Its strengths lie in the use of validated data from Minnesota Measures database and the involvement of a large sample of academic leaders. However, the study focused on one state, Minnesota, which makes it hard to generalize its findings to other settings.

Martin, Kimberly, Richard Galentino, and Lori Townsend. “Community College Student Success: The Role of Motivation and Self-Empowerment.” Community College Review 42.3 (2014): 221-241. Print.

Summary

The article reports a qualitative study examining the reasons for low completion rates in community colleges. One claim made in the article is that community college students are ethnically diverse. The authors further note that up to 46% of college students fail to complete their studies within six years with 20% of them staying in college beyond the recommended study period (Martin, Galentino, and Townsend 234). They draw their evidence from the findings of the College Board and the American Association of Community Colleges on graduation rates.

The study relied on qualitative interviews that sought the views of college staff, management, and students who completed their studies within three years. They contend that the analysis of the attributes of successful college graduates will be useful in developing strategies to improve student outcomes and reduce delays in graduation. They use a theory of student persistence to describe the personality attributes of successful students, which include a commitment towards one’s academic goals, social growth, and institution/faculty (Martin, Galentino, and Townsend 225). One persistence theory the article uses to support the claim that personality traits influence persistence and commitment include Tinto’s interactionalist theory.

The second part of the study involved qualitative data collection using interviews. The analysis of the views of the participants, namely, staff, students, and administrators, indicated that students with clear goals, strong motivation, and capacity to handle external challenges tend to graduate within the recommended duration of study. The authors rely on verbatim statements from students, staff, and administrators to back up their findings. An additional source of evidence comes from an examination of the students’ ages, family responsibilities, and employment roles.

Key phrases

  1. Community college students are very diverse.
  2. Statistics show that 46% of college students fail to complete their studies within six years with 20% of them staying in college beyond the recommended study period.
  3. Motivation and self-empowerment enhance educational performance.
  4. Colleges should consider admitting students, who show motivation, clear academic goals, and capacity to handle challenges to boost their graduation rates.
  5. Variables of academic preparedness, such as high school performance, also predict college completion rate.
  6. The analysis of the attributes of successful college graduates will be useful in developing strategies to improve student outcomes and reduce delays in graduation.
  7. Tinto’s interactionalist theory holds that personality traits influence persistence and commitment

Key Quotations

According to the article, “predictors of low college persistence, cultural capital, academic under-preparedness, and access may be overcome by community college students with the entry characteristics of ability to manage external demands, clear goals, self-empowerment, and motivation” (Martin, Galentino, and Townsend 237). I find this statement supportive of the central argument in my research.

Evaluation

This source is valuable to my research as it touches on student qualities that predict successful college completion. This is consistent with my argument that because VCU admits bright and competitive students, raising the difficulty levels of its courses will not lower graduation rates. The article gives valuable insights into how college plans, including study goals, lead to academic success. Variables of academic preparedness, such as high school performance, also predict college completion rate. The use of in-depth interviews involving diverse participants is a major strength of this study.

Raikes, Mark, Victoria Berling, and Jody Davis. “To Dream the Impossible Dream: College Graduation in Four Years.” Christian Higher Education 11.5 (2012): 310-319. Print.

Summary

The article reports a study examining the predictors of graduation rates at Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCUs). It asserts that CCCU institutions, despite having a high enrolment, suffer low graduation rates. By analysing diverse theoretical perspectives, the authors adduce evidence for college success in faith-related, financial, and institutional factors. They cite studies indicating that the CCCU student selection process depends on these three factors.

The article draws data from the websites of each of the 80 participating institutions as well as from internet sources. The authors identified 17 variables, including the student-tutor ratio and the GPA of freshmen, which were relevant to the study. In this study, a graduation prediction model was developed that could foretell completion rates in 48.6% of the 4-year programs (Raikes, Berling, and Davis 315). In applying this model, student-tutor ratio and college fees were found to have an insignificant effect on graduation rate. However, the GPA of a student joining college was found to predict the likelihood that he/she would complete a four-year program within four years.

The article used data from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator on graduation rates of institutions of higher learning to categorize the determinants of college completion rates into institutional, financial, and religiosity factors. Institutional factors included scholarships and college expenditure, while financial factors were things like tuition costs. They claim that the institutional, religiosity, and financial factors can help families in selecting colleges in which their children have a likelihood of graduating within a four-year study period (Raikes, Berling, and Davis 317). The study established that institutions that charged huge amounts of fees had higher completion rates.

Key Phrases

  1. College success is dependent on faith, financial, and institutional factors.
  2. A graduation prediction model could foretell completion rates in 48.6% of the 4-year programs.
  3. Student-tutor ratio and college fees were found to have insignificant effect on graduation rate
  4. Average GPA of student is a significant predictor of their graduation rates.
  5. Learning institutions should admit students with better GPA to improve their graduation rates.
  6. High-performing freshmen tend to finish four-year programs within four years, when financial and religiosity factors are held constant.
  7. Institutions that charged huge amounts of fees had higher completion rates.

Key Quotations

After reading the article, I identified one key passage that I might quote in my paper. The authors write,The average incoming GPA of the student body was a significant predictor of four-year graduation rates, even after controlling for all other variables, suggesting that institutions that admit students with better academic preparation are likely to have higher four-year graduation rates” (Raikes, Berling, and Davis 317).

Evaluation

The study has broadened my understanding of the specific factors that affect college completion rates. Of particular interest are the institutional factors, such as student-lecturer ratio, instructional expenses, and GPA. According to the article, high freshmen GPA indicates that the institution is highly selective, which, when coupled with high instructional expenditure leads to improved graduation rates. Thus, high-performing freshmen tend to finish four-year programs within four years, when financial and religiosity factors are held constant. The multi-variable analysis shows the factors that have a big impact on graduation rates and thus, it is a major strength of the article.

Primary Sources

Murray, Mike. “Factors affecting graduation and student dropout rates at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.” South African Journal of Science 110.11 (2014), 39-66. Print.

Summary

This source investigates personality and institutional factors that contribute to high college dropout rates and lower completion rates using a case study. Murray applies a “competing risks methodology” to students pursuing various degree programs between 2004 and 2012 (Murray 41). The central argument is that multiple factors combine to affect the duration a student takes to graduate or quit college. The researcher cites studies to explain why the competing risks methodology, which is a statistical model, can be applied to determine the length of time it takes freshmen to graduate. He outlines the formula underlying this model and explains how it can be used in the education sector.

Murray’s aims were to do a comparison between the duration it takes learners to complete their studies and dropout rates. Using a case study approach, the author tracked the performance data of students entering the university until the time they dropped out or attained their degree. In total, the records of 17,602 students were monitored. The graduation rate of the first cohort (2004) was 65.45%, while the dropout rate was 6.75% (Murray 63). Students still studying by 2012 comprised 0.43% of the 2004 cohort. Weak learners were expelled on academic grounds.

Based on these results, the author claims that the competing risks methodology reveals the amount of credit points that a learner is required to attain before graduating. Furthermore, it can reveal the effect of financial and domestic factors that force students to drop out or discontinue their studies. The author also establishes that financial assistance helps students to progress quickly because it enables them to stay in school and attain the required credit points (Murray 53). He notes that the amount of credit points that a student repeats determines the duration he/she will take to finish his/her studies.

Key Phrases

  1. Personality and institutional factors contribute to high college dropout rates and lower completion rates.
  2. Multiple factors combine to affect the duration a student takes to graduate or quit college.
  3. The graduation rate of the first cohort was 65.45%, while the dropout rate was 6.75%.
  4. Weak or financially constrained students repeat courses severally, which lengthens the duration it takes to attain a degree.
  5. Statistical model can be applied to determine the length of time it takes freshmen to graduate.
  6. Financial assistance helps students to progress quickly because it enables them to stay in school and attain the required credit points.
  7. The amount of credit points that a student repeats determines the duration he/she will take to finish his/her studies.

Key Quotations

The author writes, “Having some form of financial aid and having a higher metric point score also help students in a cohort to graduate on average more quickly in terms of the number of credit points that they have to repeat” (Murray 58). I will use this statement to support my argument. Another statement I might use is the argument, “financial aid helps someone who will eventually be excluded on academic grounds to linger longer in the system” (Murray 42).

Evaluation

This source establishes the requirement that one must attain certain credit points contribute to delays in graduation. It relies on empirical data to derive variables that have an effect on graduation and dropout rates. It responds directly to my research question about the educational variables that extend the time it takes one to graduate. One such variable is the award of credit points, whereby weak or financially constrained students repeat courses severally, which lengthens the duration it takes to attain a degree. The study’s strengths lie in its use of a case study approach and empirical data. However, it only relies on a few sources, which limits its scope.

Terry, Neil, Anne Macy, John Cooley, and Ashley Peterson. “Determinants of College Basketball Graduation Rates.” Journal of Economic and Economic Education Research 15.2 (2014): 207-223. Print.

Summary

This quantitative research explores the determinants of graduation of athletes pursuing degree programs. It focuses on variables such as financial aid, institutional factors, and sports programs. The authors review previous literature to identify evidence to support their claim that the graduation rates of athletes are high due to academic and financial support. Through this review, they establish that sports foster educational integration, which is an important predictor of persistence.

The authors also find that private institutions admit freshmen with high GPA and SAT scores and hence, have better graduation rates than public ones. The review also shows that large institutions earn extra profits from athletics and therefore, have enough resources to support learners. Thus, big universities with strong athletics teams have the resources to invest in student learning programs and boost their graduation rates. The authors surveyed the graduation rates of nine universities with basketball programs for six years (2004-2010) (Terry, Macy, Cooley, and Peterson 210). They identified eleven variables related to profitability, institutional factors, student attributes, financial support, athletics expenditure, and recruitment budget that affected graduation rates.

The results indicate that institutions with strong basketball teams have huge resources at their disposal to invest in academic support and improve the graduation rates of athletes. Additionally, private universities tend to attract prominent and talented athletes with high GPA into their programs. Having high-performing teams enhances the students’ academic engagement and graduation rates. In this study, the completion rates of female basketball players were 13.8% more than that of males (Terry et al. 220). This indicates that athletic programs have a positive impact on degree attainment among women.

Key Phrases

  1. Financial aid, institutional factors, and sports programs influence graduation rates of athletes.
  2. The completion rates of female basketball players were 13.8% more than that of males.
  3. Universities with strong athletics teams have the resources to invest in student learning programs and boost their graduation rates.
  4. Institutions with strong basketball teams have huge resources at their disposal to invest in academic support and improve the graduation rates of athletes.
  5. The graduation rates of athletes are high due to academic and financial support.
  6. Sports foster educational integration, which is an important predictor of persistence.
  7. The large resource base attained through the recruitment of talented and bright athletes is central to improved graduation rates.

Key Quotations

In the source, it is claimed that, “Winning programs are more likely to help student athletes remain academically eligible for competition, which indirectly helps student athletes make positive progress toward degree completion” (Terry et al. 216). The authors also note that, “Private institutions with strong academic reputations are able to attract elite talent” (Terry et al. 215). I find these two statements relevant and may quote them in my essay.

Evaluation

This source has elucidated the fact that talented and bright students tend to spend less time in college to graduate. Institutions, especially private ones, recruit talented athletes (basketball players) to boost their resource base. They recruit athletes who have high GPA scores. The huge resources generated by winning national competitions are used to support athletes academically leading to higher completion rates. I have also understood that winning has a positive impact on academic engagement. The source excels in its use empirical data to define the determinants of academic success. However, its focus on basketball players only limits its scope.

Hawkins, Abigail, Charles Graham, Richard Sudweeks, and Michael Barbour. “Academic performance, course completion rates, and student perception of the quality and frequency of interaction in a virtual high school.” Distance Education 34.1 (2013): 64-83. Print.

Summary

The study investigated the impact of classroom interaction on academic performance. In this study, academic performance was determined by the credit points given and program completion. It involved a survey of 2269 students to generate qualitative data to support the hypothesis that quality instructor-student interactions increase course completion rates of students studying online (Hawkins, Graham, Sudweeks, and Barbour 66). A brief literature review is done to determine attrition and persistence levels in virtual environments.

With regard to interaction, the authors note that quality interaction between a tutor and students, or among learners, results in better academic outcomes, in terms of grades, satisfaction, and engagement. The authors use a model from a previous study to define three characteristics of quality interaction, namely, “feedback, procedural, and social interactions” (Hawkins et al. 65). The authors claim that instructional interactions have the highest impact on course completion. In this study, completion rates were high in programs, such as health, which students must complete to be eligible to graduate.

Overall, 75% of the participants attained the required points to complete the course, while 25% did not (Hawkins et al. 64). Course completion was associated with quality interactions and frequent feedback. As the study examined secondary data related to grades and rate of completion, the data provided further evidence for the correlation between quality interaction, performance, and completion rates.

Key Phrases

  1. Classroom interaction has marked impact on academic performance and completion rates.
  2. Self-efficacy, personal motivation, organization, and techno savvy predict course completion rates.
  3. Quality instructor-student interactions increase course completion rates of students studying online.
  4. Statistics indicate that 75% of the participants attained the required points to complete the course, whereas 25% did not.
  5. Quality interaction between a tutor and students, or among learners, results in better academic outcomes, in terms of grades, satisfaction, and engagement.
  6. Instructional interactions have the highest impact on course completion.
  7. Findings show that 40 percent of the enrollees had not started doing the required tasks six months after enrolling for the course.

Key Quotations

The one statement that I may quote in my essay is “increased interaction may be enough to move students from the non-completion status to completion status” (Hawkins et al. 79).

Evaluation

The study has enriched my understanding of the impact of initial student-instructor interactions on academic performance and completion rates. Most importantly, it identifies the key qualities of successful learners, which include self-efficacy, personal motivation, and organization, among others. My focus is on how admitting students with these qualities will reduce delays in graduation regardless of course difficulty levels. The source excels in its use of secondary data to validate the primary findings. It also uses a large sample to achieve reliable results.

Works Cited

Anstine, Jeff. “Graduation Rates at U.S. Colleges and Universities: A large Data Set Analysis.” Business Education & Accreditation 5.2 (2013): 55-65. Print.

Guri, Patricia, Eric Den, Sylivia Hurtado, and Gerald Gurin. “Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes.” Harvard Education Review 72.3 (2002): 330-369. Print.

Hawkins, Abigail, Charles Graham, Richard Sudweeks, and Michael Barbour. “Academic performance, course completion rates, and student perception of the quality and frequency of interaction in a virtual high school.” Distance Education 34.1 (2013): 64–83. Print.

Martin, Kimberly, Richard Galentino, and Lori Townsend. “Community College Student Success: The Role of Motivation and Self-Empowerment.” Community College Review 42.3 (2014): 221-241. Print.

Murray, Mike. “Factors affecting graduation and student dropout rates at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.” South African Journal of Science 110.11 (2014): 39-66. Print.

Raikes, Mark, Victoria Berling, and Jody Davis. “To Dream the Impossible Dream: College Graduation in Four Years.” Christian Higher Education 11.5 (2012): 310-319. Print.

Talbert, Patricia. “Strategies to Increase Enrollment, Retention, and Graduation Rates.” Journal of Developmental Education 36.1 (2012): 22-36. Print.

Terry, Neil, Anne Macy, John Cooley, and Ashley Peterson. “Determinants of College Basketball Graduation Rates.” Journal of Economic and Economic Education Research 15.2 (2014): 207-223. Print.

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ChalkyPapers. (2022, July 15). Graduation Rates at the U.S. Colleges and Universities. Retrieved from https://chalkypapers.com/graduation-rates-at-the-u-s-colleges-and-universities/

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ChalkyPapers. (2022, July 15). Graduation Rates at the U.S. Colleges and Universities. https://chalkypapers.com/graduation-rates-at-the-u-s-colleges-and-universities/

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ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'Graduation Rates at the U.S. Colleges and Universities'. 15 July.

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ChalkyPapers. 2022. "Graduation Rates at the U.S. Colleges and Universities." July 15, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/graduation-rates-at-the-u-s-colleges-and-universities/.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Graduation Rates at the U.S. Colleges and Universities." July 15, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/graduation-rates-at-the-u-s-colleges-and-universities/.


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ChalkyPapers. "Graduation Rates at the U.S. Colleges and Universities." July 15, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/graduation-rates-at-the-u-s-colleges-and-universities/.