Iowa Top Ranked State in Higher Education Graduation Rates

Iowa’s public universities rank number one in the nation in graduation rates, according to recent data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The report, which is based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and other sources, places Iowa at the top of the national list in terms of overall graduation rate (80.7%), and graduation rate from starting institution (68.9%), among other metrics. 

“We have an early detection system that helps us identify at-risk students and get them help,” said Andrew Beckett, Assistant Dean, University College at the University of Iowa. “Helping students graduate – and graduate on time – is one of the best ways a university can help lower student debt and facilitate student success.” 

This is the first year Iowa has ranked number one in the Chronicle study. Previous studies ranked the Hawkeye State second (2015), third (2014), and second (2013).

“Iowa State is committed to helping students complete their degrees,” said Jonathan Wickert, Senior Vice President and Provost of Iowa State University. “Our high ranking reflects the dedication of our faculty, academic advisors, and support staff who help students keep the ultimate goal in mind.”

Iowa’s best-in-the-nation graduation rates rank well ahead of the national average. For 2016, Iowa’s graduation rate outpaced the national rate by nearly 20 percentage points (80.7% - 61.2%). In addition, the percent of Iowa graduates that stayed at their starting institution for the entirety of their education was more than 20 points higher than the national average (68.9% - 48.4%).

“This is an important time in the history of higher education,” said Jim Wohlpart, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Northern Iowa. “The fact that all three Regent universities continue to advance the long trajectory of academic excellence and student success makes Iowa a very special place. We are pleased that the high rankings over the past four years reflect all of the hard work our students, faculty and staff put in to an education.”