Admission to Michigan State University is based upon academic preparation and ability. To assist students in their educational planning, as well as for institutional planning and reporting, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students are included in a cohort each fall semester. This cohort is followed to determine the rate of retention and graduation from Michigan State University.
Decisions by students to complete degree programs in more than four years may vary from personal to programmatic reasons. The most recent Graduation Rate Survey, based upon the 2009 entering cohort, indicates that 78% of that cohort graduated within 6 years, or 150% of the normal time to award. Of the same cohort, 74% graduated within 5 years, and 52% within 4 years. These data compare favorably to graduation statistics from similar institutions. Additionally, some students in the initial cohort will eventually graduate at other institutions through transfer or pre-baccalaureate entry into professional programs.