High-Ranking Institutions With Low Black Student Graduation Rates

In last week’s edition, JBHE named the colleges and universities with the nation’s highest black student graduation rates. Harvard, Princeton, Amherst, Wellesley, and Williams all report black student graduation rates of at least 94 percent.

Among the nation’s colleges and universities that are commonly rated as selective, the lowest black student graduation rate occurs at Carleton College in Minnesota. Only 66 percent of the black freshmen who enroll at Carleton College go on to graduate. Among the high-ranking universities, the lowest black student graduation rate is at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. But the number of black students at Carnegie Mellon is not large. The curriculum at Carnegie Mellon is heavily directed toward science. This may be a factor in the relatively low graduation rate of black students.

Far more disturbing is the poor black student graduation rate at the academically selective University of Michigan. This is a huge state university of 40,000 students. And performance there is a national bellwether. Only 68 percent of entering black students at the University of Michigan go on to graduate. Currently there are nearly 1,900 black students at the University of Michigan, the largest black enrollment of any high-ranking college or university. If these black students graduate at the same rate as their peers in the recent past, about 600 of them will fail to earn their bachelor’s degree.