The High-Ranking Colleges and Universities Where the Black Student Graduation Rate Is Better or Very Close to the Rate for White Students

Nationwide the black student college graduation rate is 20 percentage points below the rate for whites. It may come as a surprise to many readers that there are a few selective colleges in the United States that report a higher graduation rate for blacks than for whites.

Five of the nation’s top-ranked colleges and universities actually have a higher graduation rate for black students than for white students. According to the latest statistics from Mount Holyoke College, Pomona College, Smith College, Wellesley College, and Macalester College, a black student on these campuses is more likely to complete the four-year course of study and receive a diploma than is a white student.

JBHE has not been able to identify the reason for this anomaly at these five institutions, which is markedly inconsistent with nationwide statistics. But it is interesting to note that three of the five institutions are women’s colleges.

At some other highly selective institutions, the difference in black and white graduation rates is very small. Washington University in St. Louis has a 91 percent graduation rate for both blacks and whites. At Wake Forest University, Hamilton College, and Vanderbilt University, the white student graduation rate is only one percentage point higher than the rate for blacks. At Amherst College, Harvard University, Grinnell College, and Bryn Mawr College, the racial difference is only two percentage points.