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The 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor's degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2009 was 59 percent.That is, 59 percent had completed a bachelor's degree by 2015 at the same institution where they started in 2009.In the mid-1990s, progress resumed but at a more modest rate; as of 2011, 32 percent of young adults had obtained bachelor’s degrees.

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Moreover, the return from a college degree increases over an individual’s lifetime, with the gains in employment prospects and income being only the most obvious and easily measured benefits.The 6-year graduation rate was 59 percent at public institutions, 66 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 23 percent at private for-profit institutions.The 6-year graduation rate was 62 percent for females and 56 percent for males; it was higher for females than for males at both public (61 vs.Those who claim that the United States is sending too many people to college discount these global historical trends, focusing instead on data points such as how recent college graduates have fared since the financial crisis in 2008.Yet in fact, while 6.8 percent of them suffered unemployment during this period, that figure pales in comparison to the 24 percent of recent high school graduates who were jobless.In 2010 Americans between 25 and 34 had a college graduation rate of 33 percent, a mere one percentage point increase over the older generation.By contrast, young people in many other nations have catapulted over their American counterparts.The baby boomers, born in the decades immediately following World War II, pursued higher education in large numbers.Entering college during the late 1960s and 1970s, they swelled the ranks of college students and became the most educated members of their generation worldwide.one recent study focusing on income estimated that a four-year college degree pays an average return of 15.2 percent annually—far more than average returns in the stock market, at 6.8 percent since the 1950s; or corporate bonds, at 2.9 percent; or housing, at 0.4 percent.Those with higher rates of education enjoy better health and longevity.

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  1. The graph shows the average age of college graduates in Canada from 2000 to 2010. In 2010, the average age, at the time of college graduation, was 28 years.

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