Big Gaps, Small Gaps

Some Colleges and Universities Do Better Than Others in Graduating Hispanic Students

The Education Trust

As the fastest growing minority in America, Latinos are the least educationally prepared to contribute to and profit from our quickly changing economy, according to this brief.

Compared to 39 percent of whites and 21 percent of blacks, only 13 percent of young adult Latinos have their bachelors degrees.  Reasons for the gap range from low graduation rates of those who enter to the attainment gap.

According to the brief, more Hispanic students graduate from private institutions than public institutions.  Woodbury University in California, a small private university, enrolls a higher percentage of Latino students to begin with at 31 percent, and graduates 62 percent of them, putting them at the top of the list for minimal gaps between white and Latino students. 

On the other end, Lubbock Christian University in Texas, also a small private university, has one of the largest gaps between white and Latino students.

Institutions that struggle to graduate Latino students can heed advice from the “top performers,” the authors of the brief said.  These successful institutions have committed to educate “traditionally underserved students” and set “high expectations for all students.”  St. Edwards University, Loyola Marymount University, and UC-Riverside are among the leaders and exemplify committed leadership, intentional recruiting, and early intervention, the brief stated.


Some Colleges and Universities Do Better Than Others in Graduating African-American Students

The Education Trust

The authors of this brief look at the graduation-rate gaps within institutions between white and black students to find that overall graduation rate averages have hidden some “pretty sobering statistics.”

Almost two-thirds of the colleges surveyed graduated less than half of the black students that were admitted.  At about one-third of the colleges, less than 35 percent of the black students graduated.

There are several schools that graduate white and black students at similar rates, but many institutions have yet to follow suit.

Universities struggling to decrease the gap can take a word of advice from the staff at Winthrop University in South Carolina, the brief stated.  Expecting all students to graduate rather than targeting special programs toward African Americans and putting the emphasis on student learning rather than faculty are part of their success, according to Winthrop’s vice presidents.

Other model institutions include three universities in North Carolina: UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte and East Carolina University, which have been shown to graduate both black and white students at similar rates.  A commitment to student success is vital and more important than just providing access, according to the UNC-Greenboro vice provost.

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