US: New report on race-based gaps in graduation rates
27 April 2008
While access to higher education by students from minority groups in America has improved over the years, not enough is being done by many institutions to ensure success once they arrive on campus, says a new report by the independent think-tank Education Sector. This has resulted in graduation rates for black students that are significantly lower than for whites. At many institutions "the success of undergraduates, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, is not the priority it should be," according to Graduation rate watch: Making minority student success a priority
. But the story is very different at many colleges and universities who have put support systems in place, and who have been able to raise graduation rates for black students - in some cases higher than those of white students. One example is Florida State University, where the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement has helped to achieve a graduation rate that is slightly higher for black than for white students.
Small, private institutions appear to be struggling the most to graduate minority students but there are also gaps at many large public universities. The report found that fewer than half of black students graduate from four-year year institutions within six years.
"Too often when colleges think about higher education opportunities for minority students, they end at admissions," Kevin Carey, author of the report and the research and policy manager at Education Sector, told the US News and World Report
. "They think if they let students in, that's an opportunity. But opportunity without support is not actually opportunity."
Full report on the Education Sector site