Harvard Has the Highest Black Student Graduation Rate in the Ivy League

The eight Ivy League colleges are generally considered to be among the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the nation. All of these institutions have graduation rates for African Americans of 85 percent or better. Nationwide the college graduation for African Americans is 44 percent.

At Harvard, 96 percent of all African-American students earn their degree within six years. The graduation for African Americans at Princeton and Yale is 94 percent. Columbia University trails the Ivy League with a still very respectable 85 percent graduation rate for African Americans.

White students have a higher graduation rate than the rate for African-American students at all eight Ivy League colleges. The largest racial gaps are at Dartmouth and Columbia where the white graduation rate is 7 percentage points higher than the rate for African-American students. The smallest gap is two percentage points at both Harvard and Princeton.


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  1. Stephen Paul Delsol says:

    It gave me great pleasure to read about the high graduation rate of 85% plus of Black student at Ivy League universities.

    We need to know the causes of these high graduation rates in order to deal with the effects of low graduation rates among Black students in non-Ivy League universities.

    I think that it is a combination of causes. Black students who attend Ivy League universities are necessarily smarter than Black students who do not attend Ivy League universities. But not all ‘book smart’ Black students attending an Ivy League university graduate. There are also intelligent Black students who attend non-Ivy league universities who also do not graduate.

    Is the main reason to be found in the quality of the University or the quality of the students? I suspect that it is a combination of both.

    There probably is no one cause, but multiple causes. These independent predictor variables interact with each other. The interactions produce a positive outcome for the vast majority of Black students at these eight Ivy League universities. On the other hand, the same interaction produces a negative outcome for a minority of Black students at Ivy League universities.

    The fire that melts the butter also hardens the egg.
    We need Action Research to find out which predictor variables have the greatest effect on the criterion variable,that is graduating from college.

    • Editor says:

      Money is also a factor. Prior research has shown that money is the major reason why many African American students do not complete college. These eight Ivy League schools have very generous financial aid packages.

      • S. Beasley says:

        Other evidence that supports the position that money is a factor in the higher graduation rates of Black students can be found by comparing the graduation rates of Black student-athletes to Black collegians. Most Black student-athletes receive some form of compensation for their studies, and thus have higher graduation rates.

      • Stephen Paul Delsol says:


        Yes, money is definitely as factor, probably the most important factor. On the other hand, there a Black students whose parents have money and they still drop out of Ivy League Universities.

        In addition, there are Black students from poor families, who attend Ivy League Universities and they last the course and graduate.

        Money alone cannot explain most of the variance between Black students who graduate and those who do not graduate from Ivy League Universities.

  2. Tabu Martin says:

    Considering the educational history of the African Americans attending Ivy League Universities, the ideology of attending higher learning and not completing a degree is probably unthought-of by the individual, the family and community at such level in society. It takes a circle of positive forces to ensure the success…

    P.S. Usually such schools have “student retention” programs that reach out to minorities to ensure their education, graduation, and career success.

  3. sam says:

    Affirmative action. If it wasn’t there, that number would be far lower. the number will most likely be replaced with Asian Americans. what? Don’t you believe me? search it up and then we might talk.

  4. Daniel Ajah Okoronkwo,m President/CEO says:

    I wouldn’t think Ivy League colleges have this high number of Black students, does this classification include Black Africans and those in Diaspora? Also does this classification remove non Blacks educated in European colonized African countries of the world ? I would like to see this distinction.

  5. Stan D Smith says:

    There is very little distinction between blanck and white graduation rates at Ivy’s. Race seems not to be a factor at all but content of character. There is an expectation by the school and the students that all will graduate. High expectations breeds high outcomes.

  6. Abdilahi says:

    Du Bois’s ‘Talented Tenth’ seems to be growing day by day, I just wonder if they will ever get to 10!. These are very impressive numbers, uncle Du Bois is proud.

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