The Racial Gap in College Graduation Rates

graduation_cap_and_diploma-2091The U.S. Department of Education reports that for students who enrolled in four-year bachelor’s degree programs in 2006, 59.2 percent had earned their degree at the same institution by 2012.

There is a large racial gap in college completion rates. At publicly operated colleges and universities, 39.7 percent of Blacks earned their bachelor’s degrees within six years from the same institution at which they enrolled in 2006 compared to 60.2 percent of Whites. At private colleges and universities, the graduation rate for Blacks was 44.5 percent. For Whites the graduation rate was 68.1 percent.

There also was a significant gender gap in African American college graduation rates. At publicly operated colleges and universities, 43.3 percent of Black women earned their degrees within six years compared to 34.2 percent of Black men. At private colleges and universities, the graduation rate for Black women was 48.5 percent compared to a graduation rate of 39.2 percent for Black men.


Comments (6)

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  1. Jaconda Wagner says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that these gaps exist because people are making the decision to not engage in the cycle of oppression, which includes the lure of a college education in exchange for a huge student loan bill, years out of the workforce and jobs where you uncompensated. All of which makes it more difficult to realize the “American Dream.”

    I just finished a book by Anthony Pietila entitled Not In My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped A Great American City. In discussing the social structure of the African American community and how it enabled people to move, he observes that many of the “professional” women, such as teachers and nurses, married “blue collar” worker who had good jobs at places like Bethlehem Steel and Martin Marietta. He infuses the concept of skin tone into the conversation by indicating that this allowed the “light complexioned” women to get husbands and advance themselves, but he also makes the valid point that it was an effective way to advance economically and stabilize a household.

    I’m not as concerned as black men hot having college degrees as I am about them having gainful employment. An electrician, plumber or truck driver is fine by me, if he is otherwise financially responsible, compassionate, and kind, and we share the same cultural – music, theatre, museum — interests and family and religious values.

    • Charles L. Alexander says:

      Great Point!

    • realist says:

      But the most important thing….and obvious…..is deferment of gratification”….not just a week or months, but in terms of years.. We who have become expectant of immediate gratification are ill disposed to the necessity and reality that to achieve a goal, that required effort, sacrifice, and a period of denial of short term pleasures must occur.

      • Ed says:

        Deferment on gratification is key. Unfortunately the culture in whole and the Black community in particular are geared more towards instant gratification which can lead one into making rash decisions with disastrous lifelong consequences.

  2. The racial gap in graduation rates is due to lack of preparation, poor public schools and disinterested parents. I have taught at the College level in many Nursing programs including predominately black colleges. I have never had a high school student that scored above 9 from a predominately black public school. Some students have never had basic biology, and algebra ; yet they are admitted with scores of 7&8. As a result the graduation rate is below 60% and the pass rate for the state RN license examination is 47% national wide. When prepared, our black students perform well.

  3. Leilah says:

    I am an African American female and I am currently enrolled at Yavapai College (this is my third and last year). I can not afford twelve credit classes, which is why I am currently taking six credit classes per semester. My grants are enough to cover books and tuition for six credit classes per semester, but if I decide to take twelve credit classes per semester, my grants will not be enough. The only possible way for me to pay for twelve credit classes per semester, I would be forced to take out a student loan and that is an unnecessary option, if my grants will cover my books and six credit classes per semester. Unfortunately, it is taking longer than two years to attain my degree, but I will not be bogged down with loans after graduation.

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