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Colleges with the lowest graduation rates

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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

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Google Maps

#50. Ashford University

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

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikicommons

#49. Bakersfield College

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

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2C2KPhotography // Flickr

#48. Texas Southern University

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

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Thomson200 // Wikicommons

#47. Georgia Gwinnett College

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

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Google Maps

#46. Schoolcraft College

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

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AbeEzekowitz // Wikicommons

#45. Rogers State University

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

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Baltimore Heritage // Flickr

#44. Coppin State University

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

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Bernard Gagnon // Wikicommos

#43. University of Phoenix - Arizona

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

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Daderot // Wikicommons

#42. CUNY New York City College of Technology

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

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Claca016 // Wikicommons

#41. University of Houston - Downtown

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

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David Wilson // Flickr

#40. Chicago State University

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

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Matthew Rutledge // Flickr

#39. Sul Ross State University

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

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Infrogmation // Wikicommons

#38. Southern University at New Orleans

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

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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

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Alainmoscoso // Wikicommons

#36. Potomac State College of West Virginia University

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

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Google Maps

#35. University of Phoenix - Florida

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

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Google Maps

#34. Baker College

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

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Thomson200 // Wikicommons

#33. Dalton State College

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

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Royalbroil // Wikicommons

#32. Northwestern Michigan College

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

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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

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EEJCC // Wikicommons

#30. Miami University - Middletown

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

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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

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Ken Lund // Flickr

#28. University of Hawaii - Maui College

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

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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

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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

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Tracie Hall // Wikicommons

#25. West Los Angeles College

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

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Tchassis // Wikicommons

#24. CUNY Medgar Evers College

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

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midnightcomm // Flickr

#23. Bellevue University

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

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Dwight Burdette // Wikicommons

#22. Jackson College

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

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Michael Rivera // Wikicommons

#21. Darton State College

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

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Matthew Bisanz // Wikicommons

#20. University of the District of Columbia

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

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Bubba73 // Wikicommons

#19. College of Coastal Georgia

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

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Tysto // Wikicommons

#18. Franklin University

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

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Jalnet2 // Wikicommons

#17. University of Maine at Augusta

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

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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

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Walter Rodriguez // Flickr

#15. Oglala Lakota College

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

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Jud McCranie // Wikicommos

#14. South Georgia State College

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

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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

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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

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Thomson200 // Wikicommons

#11. Atlanta Metropolitan State College

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

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Elizabeth B Thomsen // Wikicommons

#10. Gordon State College

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

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Google Maps

#9. Langston University

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

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Thomson200 // Wikicommons

#8. Georgia Highlands College

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

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Time Anchor // Wikicommons

#7. College of Southern Nevada

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

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Gsu eagle 31049 // Wikicommons

#6. East Georgia State College

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

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Dwight Burdette // Wikicommons

#5. Henry Ford College

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

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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

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LittleT889 // Wikicommons

#3. Harris-Stowe State University

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

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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

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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

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