Black students ‘do better’ at historically black colleges in US

Study reveals success of historically black universities when students’ backgrounds are taken into account

April 17, 2018
Black graduate looking up

Black students in the US are more likely to graduate if they attend a historically black university rather than a predominantly white institution, according to research.

A study found that black students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are between 6 and 16 per cent more likely to graduate within six years than those who attend predominantly white institutions (PWIs).

Ray Franke, assistant professor of higher education at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and co-author of the paper “Degree attainment for black students at HBCUs and PWIs: a propensity score matching approach”, told The Chronicle of Higher Education that the study factored in age, gender, average income, location, high school success and other factors of students.

He said that this provided a more accurate picture of the success of black students at HBCUs compared with previous studies.

A 2017 report from the non-profit organisation The Education Trust, for example, said that the six-year degree completion rate for black students was 32 per cent at HBCUs but 45 per cent at all kinds of institutions, although it did note that HBCUs have higher success rates when compared with institutions serving similar student populations.

Professor Franke added that the results of the new study show that HBCUs need more financial support.

“If we want to increase overall degree completion numbers, then we ought to allocate resources to those institutions that educate students who have difficulty persisting and graduating,” he said.

ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com

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Reader's comments (1)

I am a witness to this premise. I attended the University of New Orleans right out of High School in 1977. Needless to say, I wasn't doing so well; in fact, I wasn't applying myself. I transferred from the University of New Orleans in 1980 to Grambling State University. My GPA, was like high blood pressure, it shot up from 1.85 to 3.1 and even the Dean's list. Now, please don't downplay the curriculum. It was as rigorous and in depth as any other university's. It's just that, cultural identity, peer relationships, teacher-student interaction went beyond the class, it followed you into the community, the church, the grocery store and even in the sports arena. Professors even had you over for dinner, and you became a part of their extended family. Relationships that go beyond graduation. I love my HBCU. I love my HBCU. Rev. Lee E Fields, Jr., M.Div. Grambling: '81- '83 Lincoln Land Community College A.A. '09 University of Illinois at Springfield, B.A. '11 Interdenominational Theological Center Morehouse School of Religion . Master of Divinity, Class of 2016, Cum Laude. Doctoral Candidate @ United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH. Class of 2020

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