Black Graduation Rates at Flagship State Universities: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

America’s large state universities educate three fourths of all African-American college students in the United States.  Thus it is important to gauge how black students are faring in completing college at the flagship state universities.

JBHE calculations show that by a large margin the University of Virginia has the highest black student graduation rate of any state-chartered institution in the nation. The black graduation rate at the university is 86 percent. The next-highest rate at a flagship state university is at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of New Hampshire. At these two flagship universities, 70 percent of all entering black students go on to graduate. Eleven other states have flagship universities that post a black student graduation rate of 60 percent or higher. These are the state universities in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey.

Five states and the District of Columbia have flagship state-chartered universities at which the black student graduation rate is below 33 percent. In addition to the University of the District of Columbia, the states that have flagship universities with a black student graduation rate below 33 percent are Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota, Utah, and Nebraska.