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The Winners and Losers in Minority Graduation Rate Gaps

Much like the achievement gap in K-12 schooling, higher education is plagued by its own gap—with respect to minority graduation rates. Nationwide, 60 percent of white students earn a degree within six years on a college campus, compared to only 40 percent of African-Americans and 49 percent of Latinos.

This week, two separate reports released by the Education Trust highlight the colleges that are successfully graduating all of its students at similar rates, as well as those where minority students lag far behind white coeds.


The Ed Trust singles out schools like Old Dominion University, University of California, Riverside, and Florida International University as beacons of equality. At the latter two schools, graduation rates for minorities outpace that of white students.

On the flip side are schools like Detroit's Wayne State University, where not even 10 percent of black students collect their degrees after six years, and Brooklyn College, where the graduation rate for white students is nearly 20 percent more than for Latinos.

And it's what a school does to promote a culture of equal completion that sets successful colleges apart from others. Take the case of the demographically similar University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. The former graduates white students at a 20 percent higher than its black students; the latter's African-American attendees complete school in six years at a higher rate than it's white ones.

According to an Education Trust press release, the UNC-Greensboro provides an example that other institutions should follow, targeting programs designed to boost success to low income and minority students:

The programs aren’t there as showpieces. To the contrary, the university provost relies heavily on data to determine the success or failure of the programs. Those that don’t work are discontinued, and those that do are expanded.

Photo via Huffington Post.

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