February 9, 2015 | 10:25 a.m.
By Tricia Theurer, Communications Specialist
Bethel University’s four-year graduation rate—an important indicator of the value of a private college education—is 63%, higher than most Minnesota colleges. That’s according to the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC), of which Bethel is a member, which recently released its “Four-Year Graduation Rate Report” for students who entered college in 2007.
The 17 member institutions that are part of the MPCC have long been leaders in graduating students in four years. Their combined four-year graduation rate is 65%, higher than the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (54%), the University of Minnesota (all campuses-47%) and Minnesota state four-year universities (MnSCU-23%). It’s also significantly higher than other private, nonprofit four-year colleges (42%), as well as private, for-profit colleges (30%).
Comparing the immediate and longer-term effects of graduating from a four-year private college to graduating from a public college in six years, the MPCC report summarized the findings this way: “Graduating from a private nonprofit college in four years is less costly than graduating from a public college in six years.” This fact is illustrated by the “opportunity cost,” or lost earnings from what could be two years of employment, which is factored in to the total expenses of a six-year college experience.
“We’re pleased with Bethel’s performance in these ratings,” says Andy Denton, vice president for enrollment management. “It can be hard to quantify the value of a private college education. But these numbers clearly show that Bethel is experienced in graduating students in four years or less, so that they’re ready to begin their careers and earn a paycheck.” Denton points out that when families are considering colleges, it’s important to look not just at tuition, but to factor in everything from financial aid packages to potential lost earnings when attending college longer than four years.
Bethel’s 63% four-year graduation rate is the 7th highest among the MPCC member schools, which also fared well when compared to schools in other states. Together, the MPCC members’ 65% four-year graduation rate ranked fourth in the U.S. Along with MPCC’s high overall graduation rate, its four-year graduation rate for students of color (54%) is higher than that of Minnesota’s public schools: the University of Minnesota’s rate is 37%, while the MnSCU schools’ rate is 13%.