College Graduation Statistics

Report Highlights. College graduation statistics indicate that while graduation rates increase at an annual rate of 2%, just 1-in-4 of this year’s college freshmen will have a degree in 4 years.

  • The national college graduation rate is 46%; bachelor’s degree seekers graduate at a rate of 60%.
  • 41% of bachelor’s degree earners graduate within 4 years.
  • 4 million or 18% of all college students graduate each year.
  • 2 million or 49% of all college graduates earn bachelor’s degrees.
  • College graduation rates at public institutions have increased 15% since 2010.

Related research includes Education Attainment Statistics | College Enrollment and Student Demographics Statistics | College Dropout Rates | High School Graduates Who Go to College

Line Graph: Number of College Graduates per Year in the 21st Century

U.S College Graduates

The number of college graduates has steadily increased in the past decade, especially among those earning bachelor’s degrees. Graduation rates have also increased overall, especially at public, 4-year institutions; college graduation statistics suggest greater student success at these institutions.

  • 4-year institutions average a 60.4% graduation rate; the number may be higher among students who take longer than 6 years to graduate.
  • 2-year institutions average a 31.6% graduation rate.
  • Among students at 2-year and 4-year institutions, the graduation rate is 46.2%.
  • 1.01 million college graduates earn associate’s degrees in a year.
  • 1.98 million college graduates earn bachelor’s degrees.
  • 820,100 graduates earn master’s degrees.
  • 184,070 earn doctorate or professional degrees.
  • 99.5 million or 39% of adults over 18 have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • There are 59.7% more bachelor’s program graduates than there were 20 years ago and 20% more than there were 10 years ago.
  • College graduation rates at public institutions have increased 15% since 2010.
  • Bachelor’s degree seekers are statistically more likely to graduate than associate’s degree seekers.

Line Graph: College Graduation Rates by Entrance Year Among Bachelor's Degree Seeking Students

Historical Graduation Statistics

College graduation statistics suggest today’s national population is the most educated in United States history. The rate of college graduates among citizenry is on the rise. The college graduation rate among students is also trending upward.

  • In 1900, college graduates nationwide earned 27,410 bachelor’s degrees.
  • In 1910, 3% of adults over 25 years of age had a postsecondary degree.
  • In the subsequent 30 years, the number of college graduates increased by an estimated 110%.
  • By 1940, 4.2 million or 4.6% of U.S. adults over 18 years of age were 4-year college graduates.
  • The rate of 4-year college graduates among the adult population increased 704.3% in the subsequent 80 years or by a factor of 8.8% per year.
  • Since 2000, the rate of college graduates with associate’s degrees in the U.S. has increased by 28.9%.
  • The number of college graduates in the United States increased by 95.3 million or 2,269%.
  • In 1970, 176,310 or 30% of bachelor’s program graduates majored in education; 115,400 or 13.7% graduated with degrees in business.
  • 50 years later, 386,200 or 19.5% of bachelor’s program graduates earn degrees in business; 82,621 or 4.2% graduate with degrees in education.
  • In 1970, 87,670 or 37.2% of master’s program graduates majored in education; 26,490 or 11.2% graduated with degrees in business.
  • 50 years later, 192,180 or 23.4% of master’s program graduates earn degrees in business; 146,370 or 17.8% graduate with degrees in education.
  • In 1970, 17,440 or 26.8% of doctorate and professional degree holding graduates majored in legal studies; 15,990 or 24.6% graduated with degrees in healthcare.
  • 50 years later, 80,310 or 43.6% of doctorate and professional program graduates hold degrees in healthcare; 34,540 or 18.8% hold degrees in legal studies

Line Graph:Number of College Graduates Between 1971 and 1999

College Graduates by Major

College graduation statistics indicate a shift in the popularity of certain major disciplines. A majority of college students graduate with degrees in STEM fields, and most STEM graduates are bachelor’s degree earners. Business and healthcare degrees are also common among graduates.

  • 730,394 or 18.3% of college graduates earn degrees in STEM fields.
    • 94,487 or 12.9% of STEM graduates earn associate’s degrees.
    • 432,077 or 59.2% of STEM graduates earn bachelor’s degrees.
    • 168,096 or 23% of STEM graduates earn master’s degrees.
    • 35,734 or 4.9% of STEM graduates earn doctorate or professional degrees.
  • 699,505 or 16.7% of graduates earn business degrees.
    • 117,782 or 16.8% of business graduates earn associate’s degrees.
    • 386,201 or 19.5% of graduates earn bachelor’s degrees.
    • 192,184 or 27.5% earn master’s degrees.
    • 3,338 0.48% earn doctorate or professional degrees.
  • 631,486 or 15.8% of graduates earn degrees in healthcare.
    • 181,056 or 28.7% of healthcare graduates earn associate’s degrees.
    • 244,909 or 38.8% of healthcare graduates earn bachelor’s degrees.
    • 125,216 or 20.4% of graduates earn master’s degrees.
    • 80,305 or 12.7% earn doctorate or professional degrees.
  • 444,754 or 11.1% of graduates earn degrees in liberal arts and sciences.
    • 397,926 or 89.5% earn associate’s degrees.
    • 44,262 or 10% earn bachelor’s degrees.
    • 2,473 or 0.56% earn master’s degrees.
    • 93 or 0.02% earn doctorate or professional degrees.
  • 257,950 or 6.4% of graduates earn education degrees.
    • 16,182 or 6.3% of education graduates earn associate’s degrees.
    • 82,621 or 32% education graduates earn bachelor’s degrees.
    • 146,367 or 56.7% earn master’s degrees.
    • 12,780 or 5% earn doctorate or professional degrees.
  • 39.3% of graduates earning associate’s degrees major in liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities; 17.9% major in health professions and related programs while 11.6% major in business.
  • 19.5% of college graduates earning bachelor’s degrees major in business; 12.4% major in healthcare and related programs while 8.1% major in social sciences and history.
  • 23.4% of graduates earning master’s degrees major in business; 17.8% major in education while 15.3% major in healthcare.
  • 43.6% of graduates earning doctorate degrees major in healthcare; 18.8% major in law and legal studies while 6.9% major in education.

Pie Chart: Bachelor's Program Graduates Degree Disciplines

College Graduate Demographics

College graduation statistics indicate graduation among minority groups has become more attainable over time, but disparities still remain in terms of attainment.

This report uses labels and terminology that conform to source material. Some data categories have fallen out of use in many institutions. Asian and Pacific Islander, for example, are commonly considered separate racial or ethnic groups; some official sources, however, still combine these groups for statistical purposes.

  • American Indian/Alaska Native males are the least likely to graduate with a degree of any kind.
  • White males are the most likely to graduate with a degree of any kind.
  • 80% of computer and information sciences and support services associate’s program graduates are male.
  • 78% of engineering bachelor’s program graduates are male.
  • Asians are most likely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in one or more STEM fields.
  • College graduation statistics indicate a decline in graduation rates among older students while students who enroll as teenagers are most likely to graduate within 5 years.

by Race or Ethnicity

  • American Indian/Alaska Native students in bachelor’s programs have a 5-year graduation rate of 39.3%.
  • 24,820 or 0.6% of college graduates are American Indian/Alaska Native
    • 9,900 or 39.9% of American Indian/Alaska Native graduates earn 0.9% of associate’s degrees.
    • 9,900 or 39.9% of American Indian/Alaska Native graduates earn 0.5% of bachelor’s degrees.
    • 4,100 or 16.5% of American Indian/Alaska Native graduates earn 0.5% of master’s degrees.
    • 920 or 3.7% of American Indian/Alaska Native graduates earn 0.5% of doctorate or professional degrees.
  • Asian/Pacific Islander students in bachelor’s programs have a 5-year graduation rate of 69.3%.
  • 268,680 or 6.6% of college graduates are Asian/Pacific Islander.
    • 58,300 or 21.7% Asian/Pacific Islander graduates earn 5.3% of associate’s degrees.
    • 142,560 or 53.1% Asian/Pacific Islander graduates earn 7.2% of bachelor’s degrees.
    • 47,570 or 17.7% Asian/Pacific Islander graduates earn 5.8% of master’s degrees.
    • 20,250 or 7.5% Asian/Pacific Islander graduates earn 11% of doctorate or professional degrees.
  • Black or African American students in bachelor’s programs have a 5-year graduation rate of 40.5%.
  • 452,760 or 11.1% of college graduates are Black or African American.
    • 146,300 or 32.3% of Black or African American graduates earn 13.3% of associate’s degrees.
    • 199,980 or 44.2% of Black or African American graduates earn 10.1% of bachelor’s degrees.
    • 92,670 or 20.5% of Black or African American graduates earn 11.3% of master’s degrees.
    • 13,810 or 3.1% of Black or African American graduates earn 7.5% of doctorate or professional degrees.
  • Hispanic or Latino students in bachelor’s programs have a 5-year graduation rate of 41.5%.
  • 532,720 or 13.1% of college graduates are Hispanic or Latino.
    • 213,400 or 40.1% of Hispanic or Latino graduates earn 19.4% of associate’s degrees.
    • 241,560 or 45.3% of Hispanic or Latino graduates earn 12.2% of bachelor’s degrees.
    • 65,610 or 12.3% of Hispanic or Latino graduates earn 8% of master’s degrees.
    • 12,150 or 2.3% of Hispanic or Latino graduates earn 6.6% of doctorate or professional degrees.
  • White or Caucasian students in bachelor’s programs have a 5-year graduation rate of 62.2%.
  • 2,410,070 or 59.1% of college graduates are White or Caucasian.
    • 618,200 or 25.7% of White or Caucasian graduates earn 56.2% of associate’s degrees.
    • 1.23 million or 51% of White or Caucasian graduates earn 62.3% of bachelor’s degrees.
    • 451,060 or 18.7% of White or Caucasian graduates earn 55% of master’s degrees.
    • 110,810 or 4.6% of White or Caucasian graduates earn 60.2% of doctorate or professional degrees.
  • Students of two or more races enrolled in bachelor’s programs have a 5-year graduation rate of 50.4%.
  • 116,350 or 2.9% of college graduates are of two or more races.
    • 31,900 or 27.4% of multiracial graduates earn 2.9% of associate’s degrees.
    • 63,360 or 54.5% of multiracial graduates earn 3.2% of bachelor’s degrees.
    • 17,220 or 14.8% of multiracial graduates earn 2.1% of master’s degrees.
    • 3,870 or 3.3% of multiracial graduates earn 2.1% of doctorate or professional degrees.
  • 272,410 or 6.7% of college graduates are nonresidents.
    • 21,140 or 7.8% of nonresident graduates earn 1.9% of associate’s degrees.
    • 87,120 or 32% of nonresident graduates earn 4.4% of bachelor’s degrees.
    • 141,880 or 52.1% of nonresident graduates earn 17.3% of master’s degrees.
    • 22,270 or 8.2% of nonresident graduates earn 12.1% of doctorate or professional degrees.

Pie Chart: Racial or Ethnic Distribution of College Graduates

by Sex or Gender

  • In 1900, 22,173 or 80.9% of graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees were male.
  • 5,237 or 19.1% of graduates in 1900 were women.
  • Among bachelor’s degree holders, female graduates have outnumbered male graduates since 2015.
  • Male students are more likely to drop out of school with a 59% completion rate (within 6 years); female students have a 65% college graduation rate.
  • Women at public institutions have a 64% college graduation rate while 70% of women at private, nonprofit institutions graduate.
  • Men at public institutions have a 58% college graduation rate while 64% of men at private, nonprofit institutions graduate.
  • 26% of men and 25% of women at private, for-profit institutions graduate.

By Age

  • 63.8% of college students who enroll in bachelor’s programs at age 18 years or younger graduate within 5 years.
  • 59.9% of those who enroll in bachelor’s programs at age 19 years graduate within 5 years.
  • 29.4% of 20- to 23-year-olds who enroll in bachelor’s programs graduate within 5 years.
  • 20.4% of 24- to 29-year-olds who enroll graduate within 5 years while those 30 years and older have a college graduation rate of 16.4%.
  • 76.2% of college students enroll as teenagers.
  • 54.6% of 18- and 19-year-olds are enrolled as college students.
  • Enrollment among this age group has increased 71.2% since 1970, when 31.9% of 18- and 19-year-olds were students.
  • 50.5% of 20- and 21-year-olds are enrolled as college students.
  • Enrollment in this age group has increased 35.7% since 1970, when 37.3% of 20- and 21-year-olds were students.
  • Enrollment among 22- to 24-year-olds increased 27% in 50 years, from 14.9% to 28%.
  • Enrollment among adults aged 25 to 29 years increased 69.3%, from 7.5% to 12.7%
  • Enrollment among adults aged 30 to 34 years increased 50%, from 4.2% to 6.3%.
  • Pie Chart: Master's Program Graduates Degree Disciplines

    Graduation Statistics by State

    In most states, the majority of annual graduates are bachelor’s degree holders. College graduation statistics suggest business degrees are increasing in importance; degrees in this field are common among bachelor’s and master’s program graduates throughout the nation.

    • 12% of all annual graduates earn their college degrees in California.
    • District of Columbia graduates are the most likely to have advanced degrees.
    • In Wyoming and New Mexico, associate’s degree earners make up the majority of graduates.
    • New England and Midwestern states produce the highest rate of master’s degree holders among graduates.
    • Midwestern states have the highest rate of doctorate and professional degree holders among graduates.
    • College graduation statistics indicate that western states may attract more graduates than students; 3 of the top 5 metro areas in the United States with the highest percentage of college graduates are in western states.
      • 62.5% of Boulder, Colorado residents are college graduates.
      • 56.4% of Ann Arbor, Michigan residents are graduates.
      • 56.2% of Lawrence, Kansas residents are graduates.
      • 53.4% of Corvallis, Oregon residents are college graduates.
      • 52.8% of San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, California residents are college graduates.

    Statistical Map of the Annual Number of College Graduates by State

    Alabama

    • 60,660 college students graduate annually in Alabama.
      • 12,300 or 20.3% of Alabama graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 32,500 or 53.6% of students earn bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 13,200 or 21.8% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,760 or 4.4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates in Alabama are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 78% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Alaska

    • 3,830 college students graduate annually in Alaska.
      • 1,220 or 31.9% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 1,920 or 40.1% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 628 or 16.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 61 or 1.6% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates receive degrees in business more often than any other subject.
    • Master’s graduates most likely hold degrees in education.
    • 97.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Arizona

    • 115,530 college students graduate annually in Arizona.
      • 27,800 or 24.1% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 57,200 or 49.5% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 26,900 or 23.3% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 3,630 or 3.1% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, graduates with bachelor’s degrees are most likely to have earned them in business.
    • Master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 27.2% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Arkansas

    • 32,340 college students graduate annually in Arkansas.
      • 9,060 or 28% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 16,200 or 50.1% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 6,040 or 18.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,040 or 3.2% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 84.4% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    California

    • 487,890 college students graduate annually in California.
      • 170,890 or 35% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 216,810 or 44.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 80,480 or 16.5% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 19,710 or 4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 74.2% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Colorado

    • 66,530 college students graduate annually in Colorado.
      • 13,400 or 20.1% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 35,500 or 53.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 14,700 or 22.1% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,930 or 4.4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 75.5% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Connecticut

    • 42,680 college students graduate annually in Connecticut.
      • 6,280 or 14.7% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 22,800 or 53.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 11,400 or 26.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,200 or 5.2% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 50.4% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Delaware

    • 14,284 college students graduate annually in Delaware.
      • 2,121 or 14.8% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 7,385 or 51.7% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 4,281 or 30% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 497 or 3.4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 65.4% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    District of Columbia

    • 26,478 college students graduate annually in DC.
      • 658 or 2.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 9,610 or 36.3% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 12,810 or 48.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 3,400 or 12.8% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in social sciences and history.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 3.5% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Florida

    • 241,900 college students graduate annually in Florida.
      • 93,030 or 38.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 104,850 or 43.3% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 34,750 or 14.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 9,270 or 3.8% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 71.9% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Georgia

    • 96,030 college students graduate annually in Georgia.
      • 18,880 or 19.7% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 52,540 or 54.7% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 19,740 or 20.6% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 4,870 or 5.1% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 75.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    National Map of Associate's Degree Holders Among Annual Graduates by State

    Hawaii

    • 12,813 college students graduate annually in Hawaii.
      • 4,250 or 33.2% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 6,460 or 50.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 1,590 or 12.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 513 or 4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 72.6% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Idaho

    • 20,135 college students graduate annually in Idaho.
      • 5,380 or 26.7% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 12,310 or 61.1% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 2,060 or 10.2% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 385 or 1.9% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in agriculture and natural resource and conservation science.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 54% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Illinois

    • 165,730 college students graduate annually in Illinois.
      • 37,780 or 22.8% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 75,610 or 45.6% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 43,530 or 26.3% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 8,810 or 5.3% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in healthcare.
    • 43.6% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Indiana

    • 79,830 college students graduate annually in Indiana.
      • 12,150 or 15.2% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 47,760 or 59.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 15,900 or 19.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 4,020 or 5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 69.5% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Iowa

    • 51,830 college students graduate annually in Iowa.
      • 13,360 or 25.8% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 27,290 or 52.7% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 8,230 or 15.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,950 or 5.7% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 62.6% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Kansas

    • 40,200 college students graduate annually in Kansas.
      • 10,690 or 26.6% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 20,310 or 50.5% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 7,530 or 18.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,670 or 4.2% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 78.4% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Kentucky

    • 49,070 college students graduate annually in Kentucky.
      • 11,840 or 24.1% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 24,260 or 49.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 10,570 or 21.5% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,400 or 4.9% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 78.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Louisiana

    • 39,050 college students graduate annually in Louisiana.
      • 6,550 or 16.8% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 22,500 or 57.6% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 7,590 or 19.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,410 or 6.2% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 84.6% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Maine

    • 13,169 college students graduate annually in Maine.
      • 2,700 or 20.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 7,570 or 57.5% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 2,230 or 16.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 669 or 5.1% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in healthcare.
    • 58% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Maryland

    • 75,513 college students graduate annually in Maryland.
      • 16,970 or 22.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 34,570 or 45.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 20,900 or 27.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 3,073 or 4.1% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 81.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Massachusetts

    • 124,140 college students graduate annually in Massachusetts.
      • 12,650 or 10.2% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 61,780 or 49.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 41,250 or 33.2% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 8,460 or 6.8% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 35.5% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Michigan

    • 114,910 college students graduate annually in Michigan.
      • 26,780 or 23.3% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 60,710 or 52.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 21,630 or 18.8% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 5,790 or 5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 79.3% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    National Map of Bachelor's Degree Holders Among Annual Graduates by State

    Minnesota

    • 84,660 college students graduate annually in Minnesota.
      • 17,220 or 20.3% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 37,150 or 43.9% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 25,110 or 29.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 5,180 or 6.1% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 58% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Mississippi

    • 36,060 college students graduate annually in Mississippi.
      • 13,720 or 38% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 15,800 or 43.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 5,150 or 14.3% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,390 or 3.9% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 37.4% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Missouri

    • 82,740 college students graduate annually in Missouri.
      • 15,770 or 19.1% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 41,240 or 49.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 20,660 or 25% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 5,070 or 6.1% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 55.9% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Montana

    • 9,837 college students graduate annually in Montana.
      • 2,200 or 22.4% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 5,890 or 59.9% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 1,310 or 13.3% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 437 or 4.4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • 86.6% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Nebraska

    • 26,370 college students graduate annually in Nebraska.
      • 4,700 or 17.8% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 14,370 or 54.5% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 5,640 or 21.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,660 or 6.3% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 63.2% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Nevada

    • 18,790 college students graduate annually in Nevada.
      • 6,130 or 32.6% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 9,430 or 50.2% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 2,190 or 11.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,040 or 5.5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 91.1% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    New Hampshire

    • 31,194 college students graduate annually in New Hampshire.
      • 4,190 or 13.4% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 17,200 or 55.1% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 9,340 or 30% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 464 or 1.5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 31.3% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    New Jersey

    • 88,150 college students graduate annually in New Jersey.
      • 23,170 or 26.3% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 44,370 or 50.3% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 17,350 or 19.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 3,260 or 3.7% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 75.2% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    New Mexico

    • 22,701 college students graduate annually in New Mexico.
      • 9,890 or 45.6% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 8,890 or 39.2% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 3,250 or 14.3% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 671 or 3% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • Master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 96.3% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    New York

    • 296,648 college students graduate annually in New York.
      • 65,660 or 22.1% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 141,110 or 47.6% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 75,060 or 25.3% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 14,818 or 5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 47.1% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    North Carolina

    • 113,310 college students graduate annually in North Carolina.
      • 33,500 or 29.6% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 55,950 or 49.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 18,810 or 16.6% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 5,050 or 4.5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 72.4% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    North Dakota

    • 11,292 college students graduate annually in North Dakota.
      • 2,320 or 20.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 6,580 or 58.3% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 1,770 or 15.7% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 622 or 5.5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in healthcare.
    • 88.8% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Ohio

    • 132,360 college students graduate annually in Ohio.
      • 30,400 or 23% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 71,660 or 51.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 24,240 or 18.3% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 6,060 or 4.6% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 69.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    National Map of Master's Degree Holders Among Annual Graduates by State

    Oklahoma

    • 40,610 college students graduate annually in Oklahoma.
      • 10,780 or 26.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 21,360 or 52.6% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 6,850 or 16.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,620 or 4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 81.6% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Oregon

    • 48,360 college students graduate annually in Oregon.
      • 14,240 or 29.4% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 23,710 or 49% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 8,190 or 16.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,220 or 4.6% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 77.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Pennsylvania

    • 165,630 college students graduate annually in Pennsylvania.
      • 23,710 or 14.3% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 91,830 or 55.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 39,570 or 23.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 10,520 or 6.4% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 53.2% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Puerto Rico

    • 34,460 college students graduate annually in Puerto Rico.
      • 7,590 or 22% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 20,190 or 58.6% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 5,350 or 15.5% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,330 or 3.9% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in healthcare.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 35.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Rhode Island

    • 19,782 college students graduate annually in Rhode Island.
      • 3,530 or 17.8% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 12,310 or 62.2% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 3,180 or 16.1% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 762 or 3.9% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 38.8% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    South Carolina

    • 45,100 college students graduate annually in South Carolina.
      • 10,590 or 23.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 26,320 or 58.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 6,310 or 14% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,880 or 4.2% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 75.1% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    South Dakota

    • 10,444 college students graduate annually in South Dakota.
      • 2,250 or 21.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 5,990 or 57.4% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 1,750 or 16.8% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 454 or 4.3% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in healthcare.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in education.
    • 78.5% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Tennessee

    • 64,930 college students graduate annually in Tennessee.
      • 13,860 or 21.3% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 35,380 or 54.5% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 11,580 or 17.8% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 4,110 or 6.3% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • 63.7% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    National Map of Doctorate and Professional Degree Holders Among Annual Graduates by State

    Texas

    • 296,250 college students graduate annually in Texas.
      • 94,290 or 31.8% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 135,670 or 45.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 55,030 or 18.6% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 11,260 or 3.8% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 83.1% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Utah

    • 72,730 college students graduate annually in Utah.
      • 13,980 or 19.2% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 40,840 or 56.2% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 16,630 or 22.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,280 or 1.8% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in healthcare.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 40.6% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Vermont

    • 10,555 college students graduate annually in Vermont.
      • 1,080 or 10.2% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 6,630 or 62.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 2,470 or 23.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 375 or 3.6% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 51% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Virginia

    • 112,240 college students graduate annually in Virginia.
      • 23,510 or 20.9% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 58,710 or 52.3% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 24,530 or 21.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 5,490 or 4.9% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 64.5% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Washington

    • 78,050 college students graduate annually in Washington.
      • 30,990 or 39.7% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 34,220 or 43.8% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 10,090 or 12.9% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,750 or 3.5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 78.9% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    West Virginia

    • 30,560 college students graduate annually in West Virginia.
      • 6,530 or 21.4% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 16,950 or 55.5% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 5,950 or 19.5% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 1,130 or 3.7% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • Master’s graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 55.1% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Map of States and Public Institution College Graduation Rates Among Bachelor's Degree Holders

    Wisconsin

    • 62,060 college students graduate annually in Wisconsin.
      • 12,710 or 20.5% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 36,990 or 59.6% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 9,530 or 15.4% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 2,830 or 4.6% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in business.
    • 75% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Wyoming

    • 5,833 college students graduate annually in Wyoming.
      • 2,940 or 50.4% of graduates have associate’s degrees.
      • 2,130 or 36.5% graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year.
      • 501 or 8.6% graduate with master’s degrees.
      • 262 or 4.5% graduate with doctorate or professional degrees.
    • Among disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s program graduates are most likely to have degrees in legal studies, communication, agriculture and natural resource science and management, or public works and related fields.
    • 100% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate from public institutions.

    Military and Territories

    • U.S. Service Academies confer 3,480 bachelor’s degrees and 4 master’s degrees annually.
    • Most bachelor’s program graduates and all master’s graduates have degrees in engineering.
    • After Puerto Rico, Guam confers the most degrees among U.S. territories.
    • Guam confers 290 associate’s degrees, 500 master’s degrees, and 110 master’s degrees annually.
    • Most of Guam’s bachelor’s program graduates earn degrees in business while master’s program graduates earn degrees in education.
    • The Federated States of Micronesia and the U.S. Virgin Islands confer the third- and fourth-most degrees among territories.
    • All FSM graduates receive associate’s degrees; 70.6% of graduates in the Virgin Islands receive bachelor’s degrees.
    • In American Samoa, 215 bachelor’s degrees and 10 master’s degrees are conferred annually, most of them in education.

    Global College Graduates

    Education levels are not universal, so some countries have graduates from postsecondary programs that have no equivalent in other nations. Programs levels also have different labels and equivalencies.

    • Worldwide, the United States of America ranks 19th in college graduation rates.
    • Australia has the most educated population in the world.
    • Luxembourg has the least educated population.
    • Women are most likely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Australia.
    • Women are most likely to graduate with a master’s degree in the Slovak Republic.
    • Switzerland has the highest rate of graduates with doctorate and professional degrees.
    • Austria has the highest rate of college educated teenagers.
    • The most educated people aged 65 and older live in the United Kingdom.
    *Data unavailable/no degree equivalent
    International Graduates
    NationAnnual Program GraduatesPopulation
    Associate’sBachelor’sMaster’sDoctorate
    Australia121,580235,560100,7208,78025M
    Austria26,13028,59026,7602,7808.8M
    Belgium2,87069,80040,9503,05011.4M
    Brazil4901.3M65,19022,930205.3M
    Canada194,910203,15064,7908,25037M
    Chile83,720115,27040,00081018.8M
    Colombia154,140226,500100,68080049.8M
    Costa Rica5,29036,0504,720904.9M
    Czech Republic39040,29033,0702,41010.6M
    Denmark10,57044,22024,6902,0905.8M
    Estonia-*5,5003,3202401.3M
    Finland37,55018,3701,8705.5M
    France220,270263,030298,93013,73066.6M
    Germany186320,300216,37027,84082.2M
    Greece48,00020,7501,56010.8M
    Hungary3,25040,54020,0001,2909.8M
    Iceland1002,9101,32060332K
    Ireland12,76047,41022,4001,4704.7M
    Israel56,27025,2601,5708.5M
    Italy3,540223,430164,8908,00060.7M
    Japan302,830560,260101,29015,690127.1M
    Korea167,490347,18081,67014,67051.2M
    Latvia3,3607,6704,2101202M
    Lithuania18,9806,9603502.9M
    Luxembourg260630730140576K
    Mexico52,960624,410104,11010,490121M
    Netherlands2,280104,95047,5604,78017M
    New Zealand21,61049,3307,3501,4104.7M
    Norway2,78034,57015,5301,5005.2M
    Poland50314,720151,5603,66038M
    Portugal3,76048,81025,0202,27010.3M
    Russia506,870732,630236,86018,320146.5M
    Slovak Republic82020,56021,6901,4105.4M
    Slovenia1,9908,8005,4304602.1M
    Spain129,200179,250135,40017,29046.4M
    Sweden8,95035,07028,4803,2109.9M
    Switzerland31250,13025,8604,1608.3M
    Turkey316,470439,04083,0207,33078.7M
    United Kingdom115,500418,700253,67029,47065.4M
    United States1.01M1.98M820,100184,070331M

    Analysis: Increasing Dependence on Public Education

    U.S. college graduation statistics indicate greater student success among public institution attendees. Further, while postsecondary student enrollment is on a 10-year downward trend, public, 4-year schools are the only academic institutions to see an increase in enrollment during that time.

    These data suggest an increased dependence on publicly funded education at the postsecondary level. This does not necessarily indicate greater value placed on public education; as degrees from private institutions become rarer, their perceived value may increase. Additionally, public, 2-year institutions or community colleges have seen a 27% decline in enrollment since 2010, whereas private, 4-year schools have lost 9% of their students in the same period.

    Contributing factors may include the ever-rising national student loan debt and demand for an educated labor force. Students may work for a few years before attending college to avoid having to borrow. Others may forgo a college education altogether, especially those who would be less academically inclined and, therefore, more likely to drop out. Correspondingly, students who do attend college may feel greater pressure to graduate on time in order to maximize their investment, reduce debt, and earn a living wage.

    Sources

  1. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Digest of Education Statistics
  2. NCES, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
  3. U.S. Department of Education, New State College Attainment Numbers Show Progress Toward 2020 Goal
  4. United States Census Bureau Education Tables
  5. Current Population Survey Historical Time Series Tables
  6. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Stats: Graduates by Field