Study: Idaho graduation rate lags well below national average

Idaho’s college graduation rates consistently lag behind national averages, according to a newly released study.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center study focuses on students who entered college in the fall of 2011, tracking their graduation rates over six years.

A few of the findings:

  • Only 50.7 percent of Idaho students entering a four-year public institution left with a degree. The report broke down graduation rates for only 46 states — generally, states with at least three public colleges — but only three states had a lower graduation rate than Idaho. The national graduation rate was 64.7 percent.
  • Graduation rates were lower at two-year schools, but Idaho again lagged behind the average. In all, 33.6 percent of Idaho students stayed to receive a degree, compared to 37.5 percent nationally.
  • The study broke down graduation rates by a variety of subgroups: looking at full- and part-time status, student age and gender. In nearly every metric, Idaho fell below the national average, often by 10 percentage points or more.

The National Student Clearinghouse study comes as Idaho struggles to improve its stagnant postsecondary completion rates.

This year, the Legislature is again debating a proposal to create an “adult completer” scholarship — providing money for older students with some college credits, but no college degree. The proposal passed the Senate Tuesday and now goes to the House.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is affiliated with the National Student Clearinghouse, a Herndon, Va.-based nonprofit that tracks higher education trends.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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