25 Shocking College Graduation Statistics 2024 [Facts and Trends]

For many students, college is a big investment – financially and emotionally. However, not everyone who enrolls in college graduates on time.

Here are some of the most interesting college graduation statistics from the US.

Key College Graduation Statistics and Facts 2024

  • Each year, 1.01 million people earn an associate’s degree, while 1.98 million people earn their bachelor’s degree.
  • When it comes to higher learning, 820,100 people graduate with a master’s degree, and 184,070 graduate with a doctorate degree each year.
  • 42% of American adults have an associate’s degree or higher.
  • More than 1 million people drop out of college each year. 75% of those who drop out are first-generation students.
  • Students in the top 75th percentile of their class are 5x more likely to graduate than students in the lower percentile.
  • Full-time students are 6x more likely to graduate in 6 years than those enrolled part-time.

Funt Facts about Graduation 2024

  • Tassels on graduation caps were originally used by French scholars in the 14th and 15th centuries to keep their long hair out of their faces.
  • The tradition of throwing graduation caps into the air at the end of the ceremony started in the United States Military Academy in 1912. It is now a common practice at many graduation ceremonies.
  • In the 1800s, graduation ceremonies were seen as elitist and were only reserved for Ivy League schools. It wasn’t until the 20th century that graduation ceremonies became a common practice for all schools and levels of education.
  • Graduation ceremonies typically have a specific dress code, but in some countries, it is traditional for students to wear national or cultural dress.
  • The first African American woman to receive a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college was Mary Jane Patterson, who graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1862.
  • Some colleges and universities have unique graduation traditions, such as Duke University’s “Kissing of the Bricks,” where graduates kiss the bricks at the university’s Chapel Drive after the ceremony.
  • Graduation gifts have evolved over the years. In the past, students received items such as Bibles or books. Now, popular gifts include electronics, jewelry, and even travel experiences.

College Graduation and Employment Statistics 2024

Here are some of the most interesting college graduation statistics from the US.

  • Approximately 65% of recent college graduates are employed several months after graduating.
  • The average salary for a college graduate between 22 and 27 is $44,000 a year.
  • People with a bachelor’s degree are 50% more likely to find a job compared to people with just a high school degree.

College Graduates by Demographics Statistics

  • White males have the highest rate of graduating with a college degree.
  • 80% of computer science students and 78% of computer engineering students are male.
  • Only 0.6% of graduates are American Indian/Alaska Native, the lowest of any race or ethnicity.
  • Nearly 60% of all college graduates are white. Hispanic or Latino graduates make up 13%, Black and Native American graduates make up 11%, and Asia or Pacific graduates account for 6.6%.
  • ⅔ of all students who enroll at age 18 or younger will graduate within five years.
  • California has the highest number of college graduates, with 488k people earning a degree each year.

College Graduation Program Statistics

College Graduation Program Statistics

  • The University of Notre Dame has the highest graduation rate in the US. 93% of students graduate within four years.
  • 18.3% of graduates earn a degree related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
  • The most popular major for undergraduate students is business (19.5%), followed by healthcare (12.1%) and social sciences (8.1%).
  • The most popular degree for doctorate graduates is in the medical field (43.6%).

You might be interested to check those related posts as well:


What are the most common types of college degrees and fields of study?

Nearly 1 in every 4 undergraduates is a business major. Health sciences, social sciences, and engineering are also popular degrees for undergraduates.

Business is also the most popular degree for a master’s program, while medical and health sciences take the number one spot for doctorate programs.

What percent of the population is with a college degree?

In the United States, approximately 42% of people (92 million) age 25 and older have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

That’s a major increase from the 1940s when only 5% of citizens had higher education.

Only 13% of the population holds a master’s degree or higher.

What is the average college graduation rate?

60% of students enrolled at a public university will graduate within six years.

Private non-profit universities have a 67% graduation rate, while private for-profile colleges only have a 25% graduation rate.

However, the community college has the lowest graduation rate, with only 20% of students finishing on time.


Although most students who enroll in college plan to graduate, that’s not always the case.

These college graduation statistics shed light on the importance of obtaining a degree and if it’s worth the effort and time.


  • Education Data
  • Forbes
  • Think Impact
  • US News
  • Best Colleges

Table of Contents

Related posts