Gender Differences in African-American College Graduation Rates

Nationwide the black student college graduation rate stands at a very low 42 percent. This is 20 percentage points below the graduation rate for whites.  

But there are sharp differences in the college completion rates of black men and black women. The current data shows that only 35 percent of black men who enter college go on to earn a diploma within six years. This is 24 percentage points below the graduation rate for white men, which stands at 59 percent.

For black women the current college graduation rate is 46 percent. This is 18 percentage points below the rate for white women. The good news is that both black men and black women are making progress. In each of the past four years the graduation rate for black men improved by one percentage point. Over the past 15 years black men have improved their graduation rates from 28 percent to 35 percent.

Black women have also posted a one percentage point gain in their graduation rate in each of the past four years. Over the past decade and a half the graduation rates for black women have shown strong and steady gains. Turning in a powerful performance, black women have improved their college completion rate from 34 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2005.


Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.