Explaining the High Black Student Graduation Rate at the University of Virginia

Since JBHE began tracking graduation rates of black students at the nation’s leading colleges and universities nearly two decades ago, the University of Virginia has always ranked at the top of the list for state-operated educational institutions.

The university prides itself on this achievement and works hard to maintain its superior performance in graduating black students. The Office of African-American Affairs, led by Dean Maurice Apprey, begins the process before black students even take their first class. He meets with incoming students and their parents, stressing the importance of academic achievement and offering advice on curriculum. Black students are made aware of academic services that are available to them should they have any difficulty in making the transition to college. Since 1995 the university has offered a faculty-student mentoring service. There is also a Peer Advisor Program that offers tutoring to students who need help with their classwork.

The emphasis on strong academics has paid off not only in maintaining a high black student graduation rate. The university reports that from 2005 to 2010 the percentage of African-American students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher for their first semester has increased by 14 percent.