High-Ranking Universities Showing the Greatest Progress in Increasing Black Student Graduation Rates

Of the 27 high-ranked universities for which JBHE has long-term college completion data, the black graduation rate has improved at 26 institutions. This is significant progress and very good news.

The greatest improvement in the black student college graduation rate occurred at the California Institute of Technology. The black student completion rate at CalTech has increased from 60 percent to 100 percent. But there are few black students at CalTech, usually three or four in each class. Thus 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 29 percentage point increase in the black student graduation rate at Carnegie Mellon University. There, the four-year average black graduation rate rose from 47 percent in 1998 to 76 percent in 2008.

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 14 percentage points over the 10-year period from 1998 to 2008.