Here’s Some Good News: Black Student Graduation Rates at Almost All High-Ranking Universities Are on the Rise

Of the 27 high-ranked universities for which JBHE has long-term college completion data, the black graduation rate has improved at 25 institutions. This is very solid news.

The greatest improvement in the black student college graduation rate occurred at the California Institute of Technology. There, the black student graduation rate improved from 60 percent to 93 percent. But it must be mentioned that there are so few black students at CalTech, usually one or two in each class, that the graduation rate figure can fluctuate to a large degree based on the performance of just one or two students. Far more impressive is the 25 percentage point increase in the black student graduation rate at Carnegie Mellon University, where the four-year average black graduation rate rose from 47 percent in 1998 to 72 percent in 2006. For this year alone, there was a five percentage point gain at Carnegie Mellon.

Similarly impressive gains in black student graduation rates occurred at the University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, UCLA, Columbia University, and Vanderbilt University. Each university has seen its black student graduation rate improve by at least 13 percentage points over the 1998 to 2007 period.