Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Graduation Gap

A recent Newsweek article Minority Report notes that "American universities are accepting more minorities than ever," but they still have dismal graduation rates. According to the article
Studies show that more and more poor and nonwhite students aspire to graduate from -college—but their graduation rates fall far short of their dreams. The graduation rates for blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans lag far be-hind the graduation rates for whites and Asians. As the minority population grows in the United States, low college--graduation rates become a threat to national -prosperity.
Consider some of the numbers.
In 2007 (the last year for which Education Trust, a nonprofit advocacy group, has comparative statistics) the University of Wisconsin–-Madison—one of the top five or so "public Ivies"—graduated 81 percent of its white students within six years, but only 56 percent of its blacks. At less-selective state schools, the numbers get worse. During the same time frame, the University of Northern Iowa graduated 67 percent of its white students, but only 39 percent of its blacks
What do the numbers look like at SIUE?
In 2007, SIUE graduated 47.8 percent of its white students within six years, and 26.4 percent of its black students.
The 47.8% is certainly not good, but given our focus in this space, we have to wonder why black students graduate in such smaller numbers than white students.

Near the end of the article, the reporters note that "With effort and money, the graduation gap can be closed." We certainly need a broader discussion here about the efforts and resources necessary to close that gap.

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