National Institute on Aging

Graduation Rates of Students at State-Operated Historically Black Universities

A few of the nation’s private historically Black colleges and universities have achieved progress in graduating their Black students. For example, Spelman College in Atlanta has a Black student graduation rate of 75 percent. Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Hampton University in Virginia have graduation rates of 60 percent or better.

But at most of the nation’s state-operated historically Black colleges and universities, the graduation rates remain very low. JBHE has compiled a listing of Black student graduation rates at a large group of the state-operated historically Black universities. The graduation rate is determined by determining what percentage of students who enter a particular institution received their bachelor’s degree within six years at the same university.

Winston-Salem State University, 50%
North Carolina A&T State University, 49%
Florida A&M University, 47%
North Carolina Central University, 46%
Delaware State University, 41%
Elizabeth City State University, 41%
Virginia State University, 41%
Bowie State University, 40%
Jackson State University, 37%
Morgan State University, 37%
Alcorn State University, 36%
South Carolina State University, 36%
Grambling State University, 35%
Norfolk State University, 35%
Albany State University, 34%
Mississippi Valley State University, 33%
Prairie View A&M University, 32%
Fort Valley State University, 31%
Southern University, Baton Rouge 31%
Savannah State University, 29%
Tennessee State University, 29%
Alabama State University, 28%
Alabama A&M University, 27%
Central State University, 25%
Kentucky State University, 21%
Texas Southern University, 20%

Why are these graduation rates so low? Undoubtedly there are many factors. Money plays a major role. In many cases, Pell grants and other financial aid often do not cover the full cost of higher education. And in many instances, family obligations require students to work and this can be a detriment to academic pursuits. Also, many students at these universities take longer to earn their degrees and do not graduate within six years of their first enrollment. Not to be discounted is the fact that many students entering these universities have not been well prepared for college-level curriculum during their K-12 years.


Comments (3)

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  1. Clara Fitzpatrick says:

    The graduation rates at many of the HBCUs is about the same as are the rates for Black students at many of the PWIs.

    • Dr Hampton says:

      I noticed those similarities of Black student graduation rates at PWIs as well, Clara. The average graduation rate for post secondary education is at 50% overall, unfortunately.

  2. Michael says:

    Hey Clara,
    Let’s be clear. The graduation rate at HBCUs should be significantly higher than PWIs because the overall learning environment supposed to be more supportive and conducive to learning. It’s very easy to say the main reason why HBCUs have an abysmal graduation rate is due to financial issue which is not completely true. HBCUs are mired in colorism, groupism, group think, sexism, and misguided administrator’s. Until that changes, HBCUs will continue to venture on this downward slope. For those who dissent, my comments do not qualify as deficient narrative and only plain truth.

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