POST Online Media Lite Edition


College graduation rates are up for African American, Latino, and Native students

Staff writer |
There have been real improvements: More than two-thirds of all four-year public colleges and universities increased graduation rates from 2003 to 2013.

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This is according to a new Ed Trust report, Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students?

And among the 255 institutions that improved and serve a sizable population of African American, Latino, and Native students, 77 percent raised graduation rates for their underrepresented minority students (URMs).

Yet, despite this good news, far too many institutions are not even narrowing longstanding gaps between groups. Of the 255 institutions examined, the authors found the graduation rates for URMs increased only slightly more than that for white students (6.3 versus 5.7 percentage points).

This means that gaps have narrowed by less than 1 percentage point in 10 years — an improvement rate far too slow to close completion gaps, at least in this century.

Looking underneath the averages, the report finds different patterns for different groups of students.

Improvements were greatest for Latino students (7.4 percentage points), and Native students saw an increase of 6.4 percentage points. Gains among black students were the lowest (4.4 points), which means that gaps between black and white students actually increased.

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