It's well known that underrepresented minority students graduate from college at lower rates than their white peers, but the gaps between schools vary widely — and, according to a 2010 report by the Washington-based Education Trust, institutions share responsibility for the results.
Experts on minority retention have found that peer and faculty mentoring, strong leadership and a focus on data all play a role in retaining black and Latino students.
At private institutions, 73.4 percent of white students earned their degrees within six years, while only 54.7 percent of black students and 62.9 percent of Hispanic students made it through the schools they started, the report's authors found.
Education Trust, which analyzed data from 456 colleges and universities, uncovered disparities across all institutions, from flagship public universities to the Ivy League. At the University of Mississippi, 57.9 percent of white students entering in 2001 had graduated six years later, contrasted with 42.3 percent of underrepresented minority students.
At Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., the overall graduation rate was much higher — 94.8 percent of all students got their diplomas — but there was a 13.1 percentage-point gap between the white majority and their black, Latino and Native American classmates.
The study also uncovered colleges and universities with just a small graduation gap — or none at all. At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, for example, white and black students graduated at the same average rate of 50.1 percent. And at the University of California, Riverside, Hispanic students graduated at a higher rate than whites — 63.4 percent to 62.4 percent.
(Butrymowicz writes for The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet affiliated with Teachers College, Columbia University.)
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