A Huge Racial Gap Persists in College Graduation Rates

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new data on graduation rates for students who entered college in 2003 and earned their bachelor’s degree within six years. The overall graduation rate of students at four-year institutions is 57.4 percent. Whites had a graduation rate of 60.8 percent. For blacks, the figure is 39.1 percent.

Black students at private colleges did slightly better. They posted a graduation rate of 45 percent. But whites at private four-year colleges had a graduation rate of 67.7 percent. So the racial gap at private colleges is greater than that for colleges as a whole.

The graduation rate for black women was about 10 percentage points higher than the graduation rate for black men at both public and private four-year colleges.