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Students at these big colleges take more than 4 years to graduate |

Students at these big colleges take more than 4 years to graduate
Students at these big colleges take more than 4 years to graduate Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:45:56 EDT

Getting a degree isn't just a financial investment — it's also a major investment of time. Along with researching tuition costs, it’s important to understand how long it will take to graduate before you choose a school to attend.

That's why the data analysts at StartClass, an education data site by Graphiq, found the large American universities where the most students take longer than four years to graduate. To do this, they used 2015 data (the most recent available) from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to look at graduation rates at colleges with more than 15,000 undergraduates enrolled. The analysts ranked the schools by the percentage of students who took more than four and no more than six years to graduate. Only colleges with 25 percent or more of its students staying longer than four years were included in this ranking.

RELATED: These big colleges produce the most students who graduate on time

The results are ordered by the difference between each institution's six-year and four-year graduation rate. It is important to note that the six-year graduation rate encompasses all students who graduated within six years, including the students who graduated in four years. For example, Drexel University has a six-year graduation rate of 70 percent and a four-year rate of 28 percent. This means that 42 percent of its enrollees took between four and six years to graduate. This score places Drexel University at No. 4 on our list.

When ties occur, universities are ranked by their six-year graduation rates and then by their Smart Rating. The Smart Rating is a score out of 100 that takes into account an institution’s academic excellence, expert reviews, admissions selectivity, career readiness and financial affordability.

RELATED: These college majors result in the highest post-grad unemployment

If you've just been accepted to one of the colleges on this list, you might want to make sure you're ready for the long haul. Four years from now, you don't want to be surprised by credits you still need to complete.

Note: It is possible for universities to have above-average four-year graduation rates and still make this list.

53. Ball State University

  • Location: Muncie, Ind.
  • Smart Rating: 86.43
  • Undergraduates: 16,602
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 35%
    • Six-year: 60%
    • 25% stay between 4 and 6 years

52. Towson University

  • Location: Towson, Md.
  • Smart Rating: 87.7
  • Undergraduates: 19,049
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 40%
    • Six-year: 65%
    • 25% stay between 4 and 6 years

51. Washington State University

  • Location: Pullman, Wash.
  • Smart Rating: 87.32
  • Undergraduates: 24,470
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 40%
    • Six-year: 65%
    • 25% stay between 4 and 6 years

50. University of California, Riverside

  • Location: Riverside, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 90.07
  • Undergraduates: 18,607
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 41%
    • Six-year: 66%
    • 25% stay between 4 and 6 years

49. University of Georgia

  • Location: Athens, Ga.
  • Smart Rating: 92.31
  • Undergraduates: 27,547
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 57%
    • Six-year: 82%
    • 25% stay between 4 and 6 years

48. Texas Tech University

  • Location: Lubbock, Texas
  • Smart Rating: 87.5
  • Undergraduates: 29,237
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 33%
    • Six-year: 59%
    • 26% stay between 4 and 6 years

47. University of Kentucky

  • Location: Lexington, Ky.
  • Smart Rating: 87.72
  • Undergraduates: 22,705
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 34%
    • Six-year: 60%
    • 26% stay between 4 and 6 years

46. University of Kansas

  • Location: Lawrence, Kan.
  • Smart Rating: 87.12
  • Undergraduates: 19,245
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 36%
    • Six-year: 62%
    • 26% stay between 4 and 6 years

45. University of Colorado Boulder

  • Location: Boulder, Colo.
  • Smart Rating: 89.12
  • Undergraduates: 27,142
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 44%
    • Six-year: 70%
    • 26% stay between 4 and 6 years

44. Illinois State University

  • Location: Normal, Ill.
  • Smart Rating: 86.75
  • Undergraduates: 18,426
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 46%
    • Six-year: 72%
    • 26% stay between 4 and 6 years

43. University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Location: Chicago, Ill.
  • Smart Rating: 88.09
  • Undergraduates: 17,575
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 30%
    • Six-year: 57%
    • 27% stay between 4 and 6 years

42. Oklahoma State University

  • Location: Stillwater, Okla.
  • Smart Rating: 87.69
  • Undergraduates: 21,177
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 33%
    • Six-year: 60%
    • 27% stay between 4 and 6 years

41. University of South Florida

  • Location: Tampa, Fla.
  • Smart Rating: 88.05
  • Undergraduates: 31,111
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 36%
    • Six-year: 63%
    • 27% stay between 4 and 6 years

40. Colorado State University

  • Location: Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Smart Rating: 88.09
  • Undergraduates: 23,917
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 37%
    • Six-year: 64%
    • 27% stay between 4 and 6 years

39. Appalachian State University

  • Location: Boone, N.C.
  • Smart Rating: 87.5
  • Undergraduates: 16,290
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 42%
    • Six-year: 69%
    • 27% stay between 4 and 6 years

38. Hunter College

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Smart Rating: 87.62
  • Undergraduates: 16,550
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 22%
    • Six-year: 50%
    • 28% stay between 4 and 6 years

37. Temple University

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Smart Rating: 88.32
  • Undergraduates: 28,609
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 38%
    • Six-year: 66%
    • 28% stay between 4 and 6 years

36. Baruch College

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Smart Rating: 89.25
  • Undergraduates: 15,254
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 39%
    • Six-year: 67%
    • 28% stay between 4 and 6 years

35. Purdue University

  • Location: West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Smart Rating: 91.45
  • Undergraduates: 30,560
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 42%
    • Six-year: 70%
    • 28% stay between 4 and 6 years

34. Michigan State University

  • Location: East Lansing, Mich.
  • Smart Rating: 91.2
  • Undergraduates: 39,143
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 50%
    • Six-year: 78%
    • 28% stay between 4 and 6 years

33. University of Texas at Austin

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Smart Rating: 92.85
  • Undergraduates: 39,619
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 51%
    • Six-year: 79%
    • 28% stay between 4 and 6 years

32. University of Wisconsin–Madison

  • Location: Madison, Wis.
  • Smart Rating: 93.14
  • Undergraduates: 30,991
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 55%
    • Six-year: 83%
    • 28% stay between 4 and 6 years

31. California State University, Los Angeles

  • Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 86.46
  • Undergraduates: 23,458
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 7%
    • Six-year: 36%
    • 29% stay between 4 and 6 years

30. Louisiana State University

  • Location: Baton Rouge, La.
  • Smart Rating: 88.98
  • Undergraduates: 26,156
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 38%
    • Six-year: 67%
    • 29% stay between 4 and 6 years

29. Mississippi State University

  • Location: Starkville, Miss.
  • Smart Rating: 87.14
  • Undergraduates: 17,421
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 31%
    • Six-year: 61%
    • 30% stay between 4 and 6 years

28. Auburn University

  • Location: Auburn, Ala.
  • Smart Rating: 88.87
  • Undergraduates: 21,786
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 38%
    • Six-year: 68%
    • 30% stay between 4 and 6 years

27. Iowa State University

  • Location: Ames, Iowa
  • Smart Rating: 89.35
  • Undergraduates: 30,034
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 38%
    • Six-year: 68%
    • 30% stay between 4 and 6 years

26. Texas A&M University

  • Location: College Station, Texas
  • Smart Rating: 91.86
  • Undergraduates: 48,959
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 49%
    • Six-year: 79%
    • 30% stay between 4 and 6 years

25. University of California, Davis

  • Location: Davis, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 92.74
  • Undergraduates: 28,257
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 51%
    • Six-year: 81%
    • 30% stay between 4 and 6 years

24. University of California, San Diego

  • Location: La Jolla, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 94.08
  • Undergraduates: 26,590
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 56%
    • Six-year: 86%
    • 30% stay between 4 and 6 years

23. Queens College

  • Location: Flushing, N.Y.
  • Smart Rating: 87.72
  • Undergraduates: 16,100
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 25%
    • Six-year: 56%
    • 31% stay between 4 and 6 years

22. Oregon State University

  • Location: Corvallis, Ore.
  • Smart Rating: 87.29
  • Undergraduates: 24,612
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 30%
    • Six-year: 61%
    • 31% stay between 4 and 6 years

21. University of Oklahoma

  • Location: Norman, Okla.
  • Smart Rating: 88.68
  • Undergraduates: 21,297
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 35%
    • Six-year: 66%
    • 31% stay between 4 and 6 years

20. University of Central Florida

  • Location: Orlando, Fla.
  • Smart Rating: 88.19
  • Undergraduates: 54,662
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 36%
    • Six-year: 67%
    • 31% stay between 4 and 6 years

19. University of Tennessee

  • Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Smart Rating: 88.91
  • Undergraduates: 21,863
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 37%
    • Six-year: 68%
    • 31% stay between 4 and 6 years

18. University of Houston

  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Smart Rating: 87.21
  • Undergraduates: 34,830
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 16%
    • Six-year: 48%
    • 32% stay between 4 and 6 years

17. Florida International University

  • Location: Miami, Fla.
  • Smart Rating: 87.12
  • Undergraduates: 41,032
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 20%
    • Six-year: 52%
    • 32% stay between 4 and 6 years

16. University of New Mexico

  • Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Smart Rating: 86.4
  • Undergraduates: 21,347
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 15%
    • Six-year: 48%
    • 33% stay between 4 and 6 years

15. San Diego State University

  • Location: San Diego, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 89.27
  • Undergraduates: 29,253
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 33%
    • Six-year: 66%
    • 33% stay between 4 and 6 years

14. North Carolina State University

  • Location: Raleigh, N.C.
  • Smart Rating: 91.09
  • Undergraduates: 24,111
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 41%
    • Six-year: 74%
    • 33% stay between 4 and 6 years

13. California State University, Fresno

  • Location: Fresno, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 86.82
  • Undergraduates: 21,482
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 14%
    • Six-year: 49%
    • 35% stay between 4 and 6 years

12. University of Nebraska–Lincoln

  • Location: Lincoln, Neb.
  • Smart Rating: 88.49
  • Undergraduates: 20,182
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 32%
    • Six-year: 67%
    • 35% stay between 4 and 6 years

11. University of Utah

  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Smart Rating: 88.78
  • Undergraduates: 23,794
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 24%
    • Six-year: 60%
    • 36% stay between 4 and 6 years

10. Grand Valley State University

  • Location: Allendale, Mich.
  • Smart Rating: 86.39
  • Undergraduates: 21,972
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 33%
    • Six-year: 70%
    • 37% stay between 4 and 6 years

9. University of Cincinnati

  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Smart Rating: 86.77
  • Undergraduates: 25,009
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 25%
    • Six-year: 63%
    • 38% stay between 4 and 6 years

8. California State University, Fullerton

  • Location: Fullerton, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 87.79
  • Undergraduates: 33,144
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 14%
    • Six-year: 53%
    • 39% stay between 4 and 6 years

7. San Jose State University

  • Location: San Jose, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 86.7
  • Undergraduates: 26,822
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 8%
    • Six-year: 48%
    • 40% stay between 4 and 6 years

6. California Polytechnic State University

  • Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 90.28
  • Undergraduates: 20,049
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 29%
    • Six-year: 70%
    • 41% stay between 4 and 6 years

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Location: Atlanta, Ga.
  • Smart Rating: 94.52
  • Undergraduates: 15,142
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 41%
    • Six-year: 82%
    • 41% stay between 4 and 6 years

4. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

  • Location: Pomona, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 87.26
  • Undergraduates: 22,157
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 10%
    • Six-year: 52%
    • 42% stay between 4 and 6 years

3. Drexel University

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Smart Rating: 87.43
  • Undergraduates: 16,464
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 28%
    • Six-year: 70%
    • 42% stay between 4 and 6 years

2. California State University, Long Beach

  • Location: Long Beach, Calif.
  • Smart Rating: 87.88
  • Undergraduates: 32, 195
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 14%
    • Six-year: 60%
    • 46% stay between 4 and 6 years

1. Brigham Young University

  • Location: Provo, Utah
  • Smart Rating: 92.32
  • Undergraduates: 30,221
  • Graduation rates
    • Four-year: 31%
    • Six-year: 78%
    • 47% stay between 4 and 6 years