Ark. report: Graduates after 6 years under 40%

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A state report says less than 40 percent of students who enroll in Arkansas public universities obtain a degree within six years. A top business official says that makes it harder to attract companies from outside the state.

The annual Report on Student Retention and Graduation compiled by the state Higher Education Department was provided Friday to the state Higher Education Coordinating Board. It said 4,333 of the 11,527 students who enrolled in four-year public universities in 2004 had graduated from those schools by 2009 - a graduation rate of only 38 percent.

Jim Purcell, director of the Higher Education Department, said the rate has stayed fairly steady over the past five years, fluctuating between 37 percent and 38 percent. He called the lack of improvement troublesome.

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