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Reports Show Gaps in Minority College Graduation by State

How is your state doing when it comes to college completion and minority students?

Two reports released Monday by Education Trust, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, rank public and private colleges based on their demonstrated success—or failure—to graduate African-American and Latino students at rates similar to their white classmates.

In the reports, "Big Gaps, Small Gaps: Some Colleges and Universities Do Better Than Others in Graduating African-American Students" and "Big Gaps, Small Gaps: Some Colleges and Universities Do Better Than Others in Graduating Hispanic Students," a small or nonexistent graduation-rate gap between minority and white students is evidence that institutions are serving Hispanic and African-American students well. Twenty-three states are on the small-gap list, while 19 are on the large-gap list.

Even though 57 percent of all students who enroll earn diplomas within six years, the graduation rates for different groups of students are vastly different. Nationally, 60 percent of whites but only 49 percent of Latinos and 40 percent of African-Americans who start college hold bachelor's degrees six years later. According to the report, 13 percent of young adult Latinos hold bachelor's degrees, compared with 39 percent of whites and 21 percent of blacks.

While the national average shows significant gaps, the Education Trust analysis identifies areas of progress, says Jennifer Engle, assistant director of higher education at the advocacy organization. "These gaps are not inevitable," she says. "There are actions that institutions can take to help African-American and Latino students succeed."

The reports offers some lessons from institutions doing a good job with minority gradution:
-Have committed leadership and a mission to embrace underserved students;
-Intentionally recruit minority students;
-Set high expectations for student achievement;
-Identify struggling students early and intervene; and
-Create a culture where student success is a core value and there is coordination throughout campus.

Engle says the report reveals improvement in closing the gap. One such effort is the Education Trust's Access to Success initiative, a project with 24 public higher education systems that have pledged to cut the college-going and graduation gaps for low-income and minority students in half by 2015.

Look here to see how institutions in your state or jurisdiction measure up in the analysis. (Education Trust did not calculate gaps for each state as a whole, but rather for institutions. So, states may appear on both lists because they have institutions in both categories.)

Small Gaps in Graduation Rates:
Alabama
California
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
Missouri
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
West Virginia

Large Gaps in Graduation Rates:
California
Florida
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Nebraska
New Jersey
New York
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Wisconsin

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