Illinois ranks first in bachelor's degree completion rates

Posted10/11/2018 9:12 AM

Illinois now leads the nation in bachelor's degree completion rates among community college students, according to a recently released report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

In the latest cohort (students who entered a community college in 2010, tracked over six years), 53.8 percent of new Illinois community college students in 2010 (both full- and part-time) who transferred to a four-year college completed a bachelor's degree within six years.


The figure is 11.6 percent above the national average of 42.2 percent, the report said.

The College of Lake County contributes to the Illinois ranking by helping students seamlessly transfer to a four-year college. With a Guaranteed Transfer Admission program featuring 27 partner four-year colleges and universities, CLC students are admitted to their transfer school as early as the first semester at CLC.

For details on the Guaranteed Transfer Admission program, visit

CLC works with local high schools and students to offer dual credit and dual enrollment opportunities that enable students to earn transferable college credit while enrolled as a high school student. For more information on the program, visit

"This report proves that Illinois is a great state for both successful transfers and degree completion," said Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Dr. Al Bowman.

"The numbers would be higher across the board, and especially in Illinois, if the data included dual-credit earners, because Illinois is a leader in dual credit use."

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Illinois' 11.6 percentage point advantage over the national average in bachelor's degree completion points to the Illinois Articulation Initiative, which is the state's strong, coordinated system of transfer.

"It is no accident that Illinois is ranked so highly on transfers," Bowman said. "Institutions of high learning across the state and the regulatory agencies, like IBHE, work hard to make sure transfers are smooth."

The details are included in the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center's report titled "Tracking Transfer: Measures of Effectiveness in Helping Community College Students to Complete Bachelor's Degrees."

The full report is available at

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