Only 29 percent of students who entered a public university in 2009 in Mississippi graduated within four years.

That is according to the most recent data from the Education Achievement Council Report Card, which was recently made available by the Institutes for Higher Learning. The national average, according to the United States Department of Education, is 40 percent for all four-year institutions and 35 percent for public institutions.

Fifty-two percent in Mississippi graduate within six years and 54 percent graduate within eight years. Nationally, 59 percent graduate (including data from both all institutions and public institutions only) within six years.

Ole Miss had the highest four-year graduation rate at 39 percent, though that is still less than two-in-five students. Thirty-one percent graduate within four years at Mississippi State. Mississippi Valley State had the lowest four-year graduation rate at just 10 percent.

Ole Miss (61 percent), Mississippi State (60 percent) and Southern Miss (50 percent) were the only three institutions to have more than half of the freshmen graduate within six years. Mississippi University for Women just missed that cut at 49 percent. Valley, once again, had the lowest six-year graduation rate at just 25 percent.

But Valley also had 47 percent of their new undergraduate students enrolled in one of more intermediate courses, with about a quarter enrolled in both math and reading courses during their first year.

In contrast, just seven percent of new undergraduate students at Mississippi State and eight percent at Ole Miss required such courses. The system average was 16 percent.

Higher education spending accounts for about 13 percent of the state budget. Broken down, the total state expenditure per full-time equivalent student topped $15,000 at half of the universities. The highest was Mississippi State at $15,975 followed by Ole Miss ($15,772), Southern Miss ($15,462), and Valley ($15,124). Delta State had the lowest mark at $12,520.

The report cards for each university can be found here.