The nation’s historically Black colleges have shown some of the greatest gains in the graduation rates of African-American students, according to a report compiled by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
The report, which showed sharp increases in student graduation rates between various periods generally ending in the last two years, shows steep gains at a number of the nation’s historically Black colleges, looking at the percentage of students who earn a degree within six years of enrolling.
For example, the graduation rate at Howard University in Washington, D.C., is now 64 percent, compared with 47 percent in 1998. Similarly, at Jackson State University in Mississippi, there was a 17 percentage point gain in graduation levels and an increase of 11 percent at Virginia Union University in Richmond since 1968.
However, the report said that the graduation rate for African-American college students continues to lag behind that of the general population.
“Financial factors are undoubtedly a major factor in the low graduation rates at many of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities,” the report said. “Despite these factors that tend to put a drag on graduation rates, many HBCUs have made tremendous progress in recent years in increasing the graduation rates of their African American students.”
Since 1998, there has been a 7 percentage point increase in the graduation rates at Spelman College in Atlanta and Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. There were increases of 8 percentage points at Alabama A&M University, Virginia State University and Delaware State University.
Not all the results were positive, however. While some historically Black colleges showed improved graduation figures, some experiences declines after 2006. For example the graduation rates decreased at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Tennessee State University, and Lincoln University in Missouri.
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