Black Student Graduation Rates Edge Higher But the Large Racial Gap Persists

The good news is that black student college graduation rates continue to rise. The bad news is that the large racial gap in graduation rates persists.

New data compiled by the National Collegiate Athletic Association shows that the graduation rate for black students increased one percentage point this year. Now 45 percent of all black students entering four-year colleges earn a diploma at the same institution within six years. For whites, the graduation rate is 64 percent, also up one percentage point from a year ago. Therefore, there remains a huge 19-point gap in graduation rates between black and white college students.

The college graduation rate for black women edged up from 48 percent to 49 percent. Black men also achieved a one percentage point gain. But only 38 percent of black men entering a four-year college go on to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

This is the seventh consecutive year in which we have seen a one percentage point increase in the college graduation rate for both black men and black women.