Wisconsin college graduation rates improve, but gaps exist

Wisconsin's college graduation rates have improved and have surpassed the national average, but a new report shows there are significant gaps between racial groups.

More than 70% of Wisconsin college students who enrolled in 2015 graduated within six years, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The report tracked and compared six-year graduation rates at four-year public universities, two-year public universities and four-year nonprofit universities. It shows about 62% of all college students in the U.S. who enrolled as freshman in 2015 graduated within six years.

The six-year graduation rate for the state has seen a near steady increase since 2009, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

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Graduation rates for 2014′s freshman class vary significantly by UW System campus, but the average for all students at all campuses is about 65%.

Madison had the highest six-year graduation rate among UW campuses at about 88%. Parkside had the lowest rate, with 38.6% of 2014 freshman graduating within six years.

While the six-year graduation rate has been improving in Wisconsin, notable gaps exist when comparing rates among students who are Black, Native American and Hispanic to students who are white.

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According to UW System data for the 2014 freshman class, students listed as "underrepresented minority" had a six-year graduation rate of 48.% Students listed as "non-underrepresented minority" — or white, other Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander — had a six-year completion rate of 67%.

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