Public higher education is earning more F's than A's when it comes to preparing students for the workforce, according to a recent report from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce. Each state received grades for four-year institutions and two-year institutions in four categories. In two categories — policy environment and innovation — each state was graded based on performance by state government officials. The report uses data from different sources from 2008 through 2012. Among the findings:
• At the four-year level, Washington, California and Florida earned the highest grades. The worst performers were Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada.
• North Dakota and South Dakota outperformed other states at the two-year level.
• Florida was the only state to receive A's at both the four-year and two-year levels.
• In all but three states, statewide completion rates at four-year public colleges hovered around 50 percent.
• In 17 states, fewer than half of first-time students at four-year institutions got their bachelor's degrees within six years.
• Completion rates for two-year colleges are even worse. Just one state — South Dakota — had a statewide graduation rate higher than 40 percent, and 33 states had two-year completion rates at or below 25 percent.
• Just two states, Minnesota and Texas, received A's for "transparency and accountability" among four-year institutions. Thirteen states received F's. No two-year institution earned an A for that category.