The Persisting Racial Gap in College Student Graduation Rates

graduation_cap_and_diploma-2091New data on graduation rates from the U.S. Department of Education shows that at the nation’s largest universities that participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I, the Black student graduation rate (for all students, not just athletes) in 2014 is 45 percent. The graduation rate is defined as all students entering a particular institution who graduate from that same institution with six years. For Whites, the graduation rate is 21 points higher at 66 percent. This roughly 20-percentage-point racial gap in college graduation rates has persisted for more than the past two decades.

When we break the figures down by gender, we see that Black men have a college graduation rate of 39 percent, whereas the rate for Black women is 48 percent. Since 2009, there has been a slight reduction in the gender gap in Black student graduation rates from 12 percentage points to nine percentage points.

For men the racial gap between Blacks and Whites is 25 percentage points. For women, the racial gap is 21 percentage points.


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