New Education Department Data Shows Persisting Racial Gap in College Graduation Rates

New figures from the U.S. Department of Education find that nationwide only 40.4 percent of all black students who entered all four-year colleges and universities in the United States in 1999 graduated within six years. For whites, the overall graduation rate was 58.9 percent.

The graduation rate gap was larger for students at private colleges and universities than it was at state-operated institutions. The graduation rate for black students at private colleges and universities was 44.5 percent. For white students at these institutions, the graduation rate was 66.2 percent.

At public institutions, the black graduation rate was 38.1 percent. For whites at state-operated colleges and universities, the graduation rate was 55.2 percent.