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01 Mar
 posted  1253 days ago |  By NICK CHILES | Comments

HBCUs Graduate More Poor Black Students Than White Colleges

At a congressional luncheon in their honor Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told leaders from historically black colleges and universities that the Department of Education "will continue working closely with you to help identify evolving needs, increase capacity, and attract research dollars. We will also work closely with you to launch new initiatives that meet the needs of today's students."

"HBCUs remain at the forefront of opening doors that had previously been closed to so many," she said. "You made higher education accessible to students who otherwise would have been denied the opportunity."

The White House acclaim for HBCUs comes in the same week as a study by The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, revealed that the nation's HBCUs are doing a much better job than predominantly white schools in graduating low-income black students.

The study, entitled "A Look at Black Student Success," concluded that at most of the nation's four-year public and private colleges and universities, a significant gap exists between the graduation rates of black students and white students. At the 676 public and private nonprofit institutions included in The Education Trust survey (not including HBCUs), the six-year graduation rate for black students was 45.4 percent — 19.3 points lower than the 64.7 percent graduation rate for white students.

The authors of the Ed Trust report concluded that there was still significant room for improvement in the graduation rates of the HBCUs, particularly noting the wide disparity between some HBCU campuses. For instance, the report pointed out, the graduation rate for black students at North Carolina Central (47.6 percent) is more than 20 percentage points higher than the graduation rate for black students at Alabama State (26.0 percent), even though the schools enroll similar types of students.

Black students at HBCUs also find themselves among a more diverse student body of late. Over the last several decades, these colleges have significantly increased their enrollment of Hispanic and white students. Gasman released a report in 2011 stating that Hispanics made up 3 percent of the national HBCU enrollment while white students totaled 13 percent.

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