New Study on Racial Gaps in Graduation Rates: Been There, Done That

The Education Trust recently released a report showing the colleges and universities having the largest and smallest racial gaps in student graduation rates. The study found 21 public colleges and universities with a black graduation rate that was actually higher than the rate for whites. The largest disparity was at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. There, the black graduation rate is 67 percent compared to a white graduation rate of 53.5 percent. The study also found seven private colleges and universities where the black student college graduation rate was higher than the rate for white students.

The Education Trust survey also listed the colleges and universities where the white student graduation rate greatly exceeded the rate for blacks. Wayne State University topped the list. There, the white graduation rate of 43.5 percent was 34 points higher than the 9.5 percent rate for black students.

While we applaud any study that brings attention to the racial gap in graduation rates, we note that a far more comprehensive research effort on the identical subject and using the same data was published in the Autumn 2009 issue of JBHE. (To see this study, click here.) Our study identified more than 100 colleges and universities where blacks graduate at a rate equal to or higher than whites. We also found 13 colleges and universities with a black-white graduation rate gap that was higher than at Wayne State University, the institution with the largest black-white graduation rate gap in the Education Trust survey.