According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, college enrollment for Blacks has seen a steady increase across the nation and is currently at an all-time high. And while graduation rates currently remain at a steady 44 percent, that number has improved over the last five years.
Notable improvement in Black graduation rates can be seen at many of the nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities, at state-operated flagship universities and at a large number of historically Black colleges and universities.
“Throughout the nation, African-American enrollments in higher education have reached an all-time high,” the report said. “Combining both bachelor’s and graduate degree programs and enrollments in two-year community colleges, there are now more than 2 million African-Americans enrolled in higher education in the United States. But a more important statistical measure of the performance of Blacks in higher education is not simply the number of Black students entering college, but how many are actually earning a college degree.”
The U.S. Census indicates that Blacks who attend college have a better chance of being financially well off. Data shows that Blacks who earn a four-year degree have a much higher income that Blacks with some college education or none at all. Blacks who complete four years of college have a median income similar to educated whites.
Reports by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education also indicate that Black men have made an improvement in gradation rates. Over the past six years, the graduation rate for Black men has improved marginally, by one percentage point, and now stands at a still very low 37 percent. Over the past 17 years, Black men have improved their graduation rate from 28 to 37 percent.
Black women have shown strong improvements in college graduation, with rates rising over the last 17 years by 48 percent.
“For Black women, we appear to be very close to the point where one-half of all Black women students who enter a particular college will go on to earn their degree from that same institution,” the report said.
Schools with high graduation rates for Blacks included Harvard University, Yale University and Wellesley College. At Harvard, the graduation rates for Blacks who attend the Ivy League school is 96 percent. Columbia University in New York has an 86 percent graduation rate.
Black Enterprise Magazine indicated that, among the 50 top colleges for Blacks in the nation, Columbia, New York University, Cornell University and Vassar College made the list for the best schools for African-Americans in New York State.
Among the nation’s HBCUs that have high graduation rates are all-female Spelman College and all-male Morehouse College in Atlanta, Fisk University, Claflin University and Howard University.