The Black Colleges With the Lowest Student Graduation Rates

According to a recent JBHE analysis there are 24 historically black colleges and universities where two thirds or more of all entering black students do not go on to earn a diploma.

The lowest graduation rate is at Texas Southern University, where only 12 percent of entering freshmen go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. At the University of the District of Columbia, LeMoyne-Owen College, and Virginia Union University the black graduation rate was 14 percent. The good news here is that two years ago the graduation rate at the University of the District of Columbia was only 8 percent.

The low graduation rates at black colleges occur for a number of reasons. Many of the students enrolled at these institutions are from low-income families, often ones in which there are few books in the home and where neither parent nor grandparent went to college. In addition, the black colleges on the whole have very small and totally inadequate endowments and lack the necessary resources to generate funds for student financial aid. Often they are unable to furnish sufficient aid packages for upperclassmen to permit them to stay in school.

This problem is now complicated by the recent economic crisis. Lenders have become reluctant to issue loans to students at colleges and universities where they are unlikely to earn a diploma and gain the credentials that will ensure their ability to pay off their debts.