The Trend in Black Student Graduation Rates At the Nation’s Highest-Ranked Universities

In recent issues we have reported the latest available data on the current graduation rates of black students at the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. We now examine the long-term trend in black graduation rates at these institutions.

Of the 27 high-ranked universities for which JBHE has long-term college completion data, the black graduation rate has improved at 25 institutions. One of the most impressive gains is the 18 percentage point increase in the black student graduation rate at Carnegie Mellon University. There, the four-year average black graduation rate rose from 47 percent in 1998 to 65 percent in 2005.

Similarly impressive gains in black student graduation rates occurred at the University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, UCLA, and Columbia University. Each university has seen its black student graduation rate improve by at least 13 percentage points over the 1998 to 2005 period.

At Tufts University the black graduation rate dropped from 82 percent in 1998 to 80 percent in 2005. The University of Virginia was the only other high-ranking university to show a percentage point decline in its black student graduation rate over the past seven years.