MN college graduation rates rising slowly


College graduation rates in Minnesota are slowly but steadily on the rise, according to a report released by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education on Monday.

In 2008 at the University of Minnesota, 66 percent of college students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in six years, compared to 56 percent in 2004.

Across all University campuses, graduation rates were at 61 percent in 2008 compared to 53 percent in 2004.

The University’s increase was the largest among all Minnesota colleges and universities, though private institutions in Minnesota reported a higher graduation rate at about 72 percent in 2008.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has set a goal to increase graduation rates. By 2012 it is aiming for a four-year graduation rate of 50 percent, and a six-year rate of 75 percent, according to its Web site.

The Office of Higher Education’s report took into account only full-time, degree-seeking students who completed their bachelor’s degree at one university.

The University of Minnesota still lags behind most of the Big Ten schools, sharing last place with the University of Iowa. Northwestern University had the highest graduation rate among Big Ten schools with 94 percent of students graduating in six years, followed by the University of Michigan with 88 percent.