For 2014-2015, Connecticut’s overall graduation rate for students enrolled in private or public four-year colleges was 66% according to the US Department of Education in a report released in November 2016. Connecticut’s rate was largely unchanged since 2013. The Chronicle of Higher Education put Connecticut at 63.4% for graduation in 6 years and 40.8% at 4 years, making Connecticut 10th overall in the nation. Spending per academic award (including AS, BA, and certificates) was roughly $95,000, compared to a U.S. average of $66,000 (compare this to Delaware, which has the highest percentage of students graduating from a 4-year public university in 6 years at 74% and in 40 years at 59% with average spending per completion at $112,000).
Of course, this is the overall graduation rates, and different stories are told depending on how the data is sifted. In Connecticut, Whites (40.6%) were almost twice as likely to graduate in four years than Blacks (24.3%), whereas 32.2% of Hispanics graduated in four years. Asians had the highest rate at 54.2%.
Income is a stark indicator of enrollment in and graduation from any post-secondary institution. For context, the percentage of “first-time, full-time post-secondary students at public and private non-profit institutions with Federal Grants” rose from just over 30% in 2001 to “46 percent in 2013.”According to a joint study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy and the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, in 2012 only 45% of low income (< $34,000 in family income) students enrolled in any post-secondary institution, versus 82% of those in upper income bracket (> $108,000).
In Connecticut, of those enrolled in the state’s four public universities and the University of Connecticut, roughly 31% receive Pell Grants (available for students who parent’s adjusted gross income is <$49,999) and 20% receive some sort of state grant aid. Given the average amount of Pell Grant awards ($4300 out of a possible $5300), it’s a safe assumption that low-income students make up about 31% of states four year public colleges and university. At the community college level, just over half of enrolled students receive Pell Grants. Graduation rates varied widely among the state’s community colleges, anywhere from 9% to 24%. At the public four-year institutions, rates were better at 49% and 83% at UCONN.
Missing from this data is what happens to students who are just above the qualifying threshold for Pell Grants. Later reports will explore this and look more fully at the support given to low-income students in Connecticut.
 See: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/“america’s-path-progress-has-long-depended-our-nation’s-colleges-and-universities-–-and-today-’s-more-true-ever-when-college-degree-increasingly-ticket-21st-century-careers-and-secure-middle-c?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=