Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Colleges with the lowest graduation rates

  • Colleges with the lowest graduation rates
    1/ LittleT889 // Wikicommons

    Colleges with the lowest graduation rates

    Two-thirds of the more than 3 million students who graduated from high school in 2018 will continue their education by enrolling in a college or university, according to the Washington Post. For many, however, high school graduation will be the last time they ever don a cap and gown: Fewer than 4 in 10 students who enroll for the first time in a four-year college actually finish in four years. When counting community colleges, more than half of America's college students will drop out within six years. 

    Sadly, one of the biggest indicators is not intelligence, ambition, study habits, social groups, or athletic endeavors, but instead, family wealth. Wealthy kids are more likely to graduate and poor kids have a higher risk of dropping out. Students whose parents earn more than $90,000 a year have a 1 in 2 chance of graduating on time. For those whose parents earn less than $35,000 a year, the odds drop to 1 in 17.

    Studies show that less affluent students, students whose parents didn't go to college, first-generation students, and other high-risk groups are much more likely to graduate when classes are small and they're partnered with peer mentors and student advisors—but it also depends where they go to college.

    Using 2016 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Stacker identified the 50 schools with the lowest rates of graduation for students who complete their programs in less than six years. None of the schools broke 20% and at least 10 schools are mired with graduation rates under 10%. Only full-time and first-time students are included, meaning that students who transfer into a school from another college are not counted in the listed graduation rates.

    The transfer-out rate is included because it impacts the overall graduation rate since outgoing transfer students lower a school's graduation rate. Only 4-year universities with at least 1,000 undergraduate students are included, and online-only colleges are excluded.

    Read on to discover which colleges have the lowest rates of graduation. 

    ALSO: College majors that earn the least money

  • #50. Ashford University
    2/ Google Maps

    #50. Ashford University

    Location: San Diego, CA
    Graduation rate: 17%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 35,252

  • #49. Bakersfield College
    3/ Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikicommons

    #49. Bakersfield College

    Location: Bakersfield, CA
    Graduation rate: 17%
    Transfer-out rate: 11%
    Undergraduate students: 18,274

  • #48. Texas Southern University
    4/ 2C2KPhotography // Flickr

    #48. Texas Southern University

    Location: Houston, TX
    Graduation rate: 17%
    Transfer-out rate: 31%
    Undergraduate students: 6,562

  • #47. Georgia Gwinnett College
    5/ Thomson200 // Wikicommons

    #47. Georgia Gwinnett College

    Location: Lawrenceville, GA
    Graduation rate: 17%
    Transfer-out rate: 36%
    Undergraduate students: 11,443

  • #46. Schoolcraft College
    6/ Google Maps

    #46. Schoolcraft College

    Location: Livonia, MI
    Graduation rate: 17%
    Transfer-out rate: 34%
    Undergraduate students: 10,145

  • #45. Rogers State University
    7/ AbeEzekowitz // Wikicommons

    #45. Rogers State University

    Location: Claremore, OK
    Graduation rate: 17%
    Transfer-out rate: 31%
    Undergraduate students: 3,420

  • #44. Coppin State University
    8/ Baltimore Heritage // Flickr

    #44. Coppin State University

    Location: Baltimore, MD
    Graduation rate: 17%
    Transfer-out rate: 23%
    Undergraduate students: 2,477

  • #43. University of Phoenix - Arizona
    9/ Bernard Gagnon // Wikicommos

    #43. University of Phoenix - Arizona

    Location: Tempe, AZ
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 100,011

  • #42. CUNY New York City College of Technology
    10/ Daderot // Wikicommons

    #42. CUNY New York City College of Technology

    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: 39%
    Undergraduate students: 16,040

  • #41. University of Houston - Downtown
    11/ Claca016 // Wikicommons

    #41. University of Houston - Downtown

    Location: Houston, TX
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: 49%
    Undergraduate students: 12,758

  • #40. Chicago State University
    12/ David Wilson // Flickr

    #40. Chicago State University

    Location: Chicago, IL
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: 48%
    Undergraduate students: 2,352

  • #39. Sul Ross State University
    13/ Matthew Rutledge // Flickr

    #39. Sul Ross State University

    Location: Alpine, TX
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 2,249

  • #38. Southern University at New Orleans
    14/ Infrogmation // Wikicommons

    #38. Southern University at New Orleans

    Location: New Orleans, LA
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,745

  • #37. Rasmussen College - Illinois
    15/ Rasmussen College is located in Rockford,IL - pictured // Ben Jacobson // Wikicommons

    #37. Rasmussen College - Illinois

    Location: Rockford, IL
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,559

  • #36. Potomac State College of West Virginia University
    16/ Alainmoscoso // Wikicommons

    #36. Potomac State College of West Virginia University

    Location: Keyser, WV
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: 37%
    Undergraduate students: 1,189

  • #35. University of Phoenix - Florida
    17/ Google Maps

    #35. University of Phoenix - Florida

    Location: Orlando, FL
    Graduation rate: 16%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,084

  • #34. Baker College
    18/ Google Maps

    #34. Baker College

    Location: Flint, MI
    Graduation rate: 15%
    Transfer-out rate: 1%
    Undergraduate students: 19,247

  • #33. Dalton State College
    19/ Thomson200 // Wikicommons

    #33. Dalton State College

    Location: Dalton, GA
    Graduation rate: 15%
    Transfer-out rate: 24%
    Undergraduate students: 4,780

  • #32. Northwestern Michigan College
    20/ Royalbroil // Wikicommons

    #32. Northwestern Michigan College

    Location: Traverse City, MI
    Graduation rate: 15%
    Transfer-out rate: 25%
    Undergraduate students: 3,724

  • #31. Nevada State College
    21/ Nevada State College is located in Henderson, NV - pictured // Spitwater // Wikimedia Commons

    #31. Nevada State College

    Location: Henderson, NV
    Graduation rate: 15%
    Transfer-out rate: 33%
    Undergraduate students: 3,345

  • #30. Miami University - Middletown
    22/ EEJCC // Wikicommons

    #30. Miami University - Middletown

    Location: Middletown, OH
    Graduation rate: 15%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,448

  • #29. University of Hawaii - West Oahu
    23/ University of Hawaii // Flickr

    #29. University of Hawaii - West Oahu

    Location: Kapolei, HI
    Graduation rate: 14%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 2,757

  • #28. University of Hawaii - Maui College
    24/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #28. University of Hawaii - Maui College

    Location: Kahului, HI
    Graduation rate: 14%
    Transfer-out rate: 13%
    Undergraduate students: 2,694

  • #27. Granite State College
    25/ Granite State Collegeis located in Concord, NH - pictured // Ken Gallager // Wikicommons

    #27. Granite State College

    Location: Concord, NH
    Graduation rate: 14%
    Transfer-out rate: 16%
    Undergraduate students: 1,805

  • #26. Strayer University - South Carolina
    26/ Strayer University of SC is located in Greenville, SC - pictured // Mike Burton / Flickr

    #26. Strayer University - South Carolina

    Location: Greenville, SC
    Graduation rate: 14%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,673

  • #25. West Los Angeles College
    27/ Tracie Hall // Wikicommons

    #25. West Los Angeles College

    Location: Culver City, CA
    Graduation rate: 13%
    Transfer-out rate: 19%
    Undergraduate students: 10,652

  • #24. CUNY Medgar Evers College
    28/ Tchassis // Wikicommons

    #24. CUNY Medgar Evers College

    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Graduation rate: 13%
    Transfer-out rate: 38%
    Undergraduate students: 6,405

  • #23. Bellevue University
    29/ midnightcomm // Flickr

    #23. Bellevue University

    Location: Bellevue, NE
    Graduation rate: 13%
    Transfer-out rate: 75%
    Undergraduate students: 5,464

  • #22. Jackson College
    30/ Dwight Burdette // Wikicommons

    #22. Jackson College

    Location: Jackson, MI
    Graduation rate: 13%
    Transfer-out rate: 31%
    Undergraduate students: 4,509

  • #21. Darton State College
    31/ Michael Rivera // Wikicommons

    #21. Darton State College

    Location: Albany, GA
    Graduation rate: 13%
    Transfer-out rate: 20%
    Undergraduate students: 3,791

  • #20. University of the District of Columbia
    32/ Matthew Bisanz // Wikicommons

    #20. University of the District of Columbia

    Location: Washington, DC
    Graduation rate: 13%
    Transfer-out rate: 30%
    Undergraduate students: 3,695

  • #19. College of Coastal Georgia
    33/ Bubba73 // Wikicommons

    #19. College of Coastal Georgia

    Location: Brunswick, GA
    Graduation rate: 13%
    Transfer-out rate: 12%
    Undergraduate students: 3,174

  • #18. Franklin University
    34/ Tysto // Wikicommons

    #18. Franklin University

    Location: Columbus, OH
    Graduation rate: 12%
    Transfer-out rate: 39%
    Undergraduate students: 3,843

  • #17. University of Maine at Augusta
    35/ Jalnet2 // Wikicommons

    #17. University of Maine at Augusta

    Location: Augusta, ME
    Graduation rate: 12%
    Transfer-out rate: 22%
    Undergraduate students: 3,632

  • #16. Virginia College - Birmingham
    36/ Virginia College is in Birmingham, AL - pictured //Eric in SF // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Virginia College - Birmingham

    Location: Birmingham, AL
    Graduation rate: 12%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,915

  • #15. Oglala Lakota College
    37/ Walter Rodriguez // Flickr

    #15. Oglala Lakota College

    Location: Kyle, SD
    Graduation rate: 12%
    Transfer-out rate: 11%
    Undergraduate students: 1,192

  • #14. South Georgia State College
    38/ Jud McCranie // Wikicommos

    #14. South Georgia State College

    Location: Douglas, GA
    Graduation rate: 11%
    Transfer-out rate: 30%
    Undergraduate students: 2,188

  • #13. Western International University
    39/ Western International University is located in Tempe, AZ - pictured // Nick // Wikicommons

    #13. Western International University

    Location: Tempe, AZ
    Graduation rate: 11%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,133

  • #12. University of Maryland - University College
    40/ John Alexis Guerra Gomez // Flickr

    #12. University of Maryland - University College

    Location: Adelphi, MD
    Graduation rate: 10%
    Transfer-out rate: 23%
    Undergraduate students: 41,070

  • #11. Atlanta Metropolitan State College
    41/ Thomson200 // Wikicommons

    #11. Atlanta Metropolitan State College

    Location: Atlanta, GA
    Graduation rate: 10%
    Transfer-out rate: 16%
    Undergraduate students: 2,486

  • #10. Gordon State College
    42/ Elizabeth B Thomsen // Wikicommons

    #10. Gordon State College

    Location: Barnesville, GA
    Graduation rate: 9%
    Transfer-out rate: 30%
    Undergraduate students: 3,577

  • #9. Langston University
    43/ Google Maps

    #9. Langston University

    Location: Langston, OK
    Graduation rate: 9%
    Transfer-out rate: 21%
    Undergraduate students: 2,013

  • #8. Georgia Highlands College
    44/ Thomson200 // Wikicommons

    #8. Georgia Highlands College

    Location: Rome, GA
    Graduation rate: 8%
    Transfer-out rate: 34%
    Undergraduate students: 5,635

  • #7. College of Southern Nevada
    45/ Time Anchor // Wikicommons

    #7. College of Southern Nevada

    Location: Las Vegas, NV
    Graduation rate: 7%
    Transfer-out rate: 15%
    Undergraduate students: 28,939

  • #6. East Georgia State College
    46/ Gsu eagle 31049 // Wikicommons

    #6. East Georgia State College

    Location: Swainsboro, GA
    Graduation rate: 7%
    Transfer-out rate: 31%
    Undergraduate students: 2,785

  • #5. Henry Ford College
    47/ Dwight Burdette // Wikicommons

    #5. Henry Ford College

    Location: Dearborn, MI
    Graduation rate: 6%
    Transfer-out rate: 39%
    Undergraduate students: 10,957

  • #4. Bainbridge State College
    48/ Bainbridge State College is located in Bainbridge, GA pictured // Michael Rivera // Wikicommons

    #4. Bainbridge State College

    Location: Bainbridge, GA
    Graduation rate: 6%
    Transfer-out rate: 38%
    Undergraduate students: 1,878

  • #3. Harris-Stowe State University
    49/ LittleT889 // Wikicommons

    #3. Harris-Stowe State University

    Location: Saint Louis, MO
    Graduation rate: 6%
    Transfer-out rate: not available
    Undergraduate students: 1,445

  • #2. Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City
    50/ Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau // Wikicommons

    #2. Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City

    Location: Oklahoma City, OK
    Graduation rate: 5%
    Transfer-out rate: 34%
    Undergraduate students: 5,631

  • #1. Strayer University (North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee)
    51/ Sphilbrick // Wikicommons

    #1. Strayer University (North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee)

    Graduation rate: 0%
    Transfer-out rate: not available

    NC undergraduate students: 3,643
    MD undergraduate students: 2,482
    PA undergraduate students: 1,753
    TN undergraduate students: 1,694

2018 All rights reserved.