The Racial Gap in College Student Graduation Rates
The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently released graduation rate data for all students and also for student athletes at its Division I institutions.
The data shows that 43 percent of all black students who matriculated at these colleges and universities in the fall of 2004 earned their degree within six years. For whites entering college in 2004, the graduation rate was 23 percentage points higher at 66 percent. This gap has increased in recent years.
When we break down the data by gender, we see that the college graduation rate for black women who matriculated in 2004 was 46 percent. The rate for white women was 22 percentage points higher at 68 percent. The graduation rate for black men was 38 percent. This was 25 percentage points lower than the rate for white men.
The racial gap in graduation rates was much smaller for student athletes, many of whom receive financial scholarship aid. For black athletes who entered college in 2004, 55 percent went on to earn a diploma within six years. The rate for white student athletes was 68 percent.
Black women student athletes graduated at a rate of 66 percent. This was only eight percentage points lower than the rate for white women student athletes. The racial graduation rate gap for male student athletes was 12 percentage points, half the racial gap for male students as a whole.