Last week JBHE reported a huge racial gap in graduation rates between Black and White students at our nation’s largest universities. But, here at JBHE, we have always been particularly interested in how Black students are succeeding at our nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities.
At these high-ranking colleges and universities, Black students generally do very well and in many cases have graduation rates that are very close to those of their White peers. At a few of the nation’s top-ranked schools, the Black graduation rate is actually higher than the rate for White students.
JBHE research has found 18 high-ranking colleges and universities that have Black student graduation rates that have averaged over 90 percent over the past four years. The highest rate is at Harvard University, where 97 percent of entering Black students earn their degree within six years at Harvard. At Amherst College in Massachusetts, the Black student graduate rate is 95 percent. Blacks at Yale University and Swarthmore College graduate at a rate of 94 percent and Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania have Black student graduation rates of 93 percent.
There are five high-ranking colleges where the Black student graduation rate is higher than the rate for White students. It is interesting that three of these five schools are women’s colleges: Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, and Mount Holyoke. Smith, another women’s college, has a Black student graduation that is only one percentage point lower than its rate for White students.
Among the high-ranking national universities, Harvard and Rice have Black graduation rates that are only one percentage point below the rate for Whites. Duke, Emory, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania have Black graduation rates that trail the White rate by only three percentage points.