Institutions of higher learning have been required to track and disclose graduation rates or completion rates since the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act (P.L. 101-542) was passed in 1990. Some adjustments have been made in the law since then to help standardize the reporting and to make it easier for the public to access.
U.S. Department of Education data for 2013 indicate that while graduation rates or completion rates vary, revealing differences in rates for types of institutions, gender, selectivity, for example, on average, 59% of full-time undergraduate students at 4-year degree granting institutions who started in 2005 took six years to complete their degrees and 31% of full-time undergraduate students at 2-year degree granting institutions who started in 2008 took three years to complete their degrees or certificates.
One response to this situation is that an increasing number of universities including Eastern Illinois University, Baldwin Wallace University, Portland State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have implemented programs guaranteeing a four-year graduation.
Fast Facts. Graduation Rates. Institute of Education Sciences. The National Center for Education Statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40
Four-Year Degree Guarantee. Portland State University. http://www.pdx.edu/four-year-degree-guarantee
Four-Year Graduation Guarantee Keeps Higher Education Affordable. News & Events. Baldwin Wallace University. http://www.bw.edu/news/four-year-graduation-guarantee/
Four-Year Graduation Guarantee. Become a Husker. Admissions. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. http://admissions.unl.edu/become/graduation-guarantee.aspx
Graduation Guarantee. Eastern Illinois University. http://www.eiu.edu/eiufour/
Student Right-to-Know Act. Glossary. Institute of Education Sciences. The National Center for Education Statistics. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. http://nces.ed.gov/Ipeds/glossary/index.asp?id=625