One of the best ways to measure the accomplishment of colleges and universities is by assessing the percentage of their undergraduate students who graduate within six years of enrollment. Although most undergraduate degrees are designed to be completed in four years, the norm is to count grad- uation rates in six-year intervals because many students have to work (many of them full-time), while others do not have the adequate preparation from high school to succeed and need more time to overcome their academic shortcomings. There are many factors that can delay time to graduation.
Many states tie funding for their public institutions of higher education to improvements in graduation rates. That makes a lot of sense, not only in terms of academic achievements but also for humane reasons. Students who go into college and never graduate end up with student debt and without a degree that can improve their chances for a well-paid job.