Purchase College was one of 11 institutions of higher education nationwide spotlighted by the Education Trust for having no disparity in graduation rates between minority students and their white counterparts.
Two reports released by the nonprofit Education Trust illustrate that entrenched racial achievement gaps in college completion are not inevitable and that some colleges, such as Purchase, have overcome them.
Nationally, graduation rates run 15 to 20 points lower for black and Hispanic students than for white students.
“When you look beneath the averages, you do see that there are institutions that are beating the odds,” said Jennifer Engle who wrote the reports with Mamie Lynch.
The reports, one for each minority group, examine graduation rates at a few hundred public and private colleges with sufficient white, black and Hispanic students to conduct a statistically meaningful analysis. Graduation rates cited are three-year averages, based on federal data for 2006 through 2008.
The authors wrote that the key to eliminating achievement gaps may rest with “what colleges do with and for the students they admit.”
“Purchase College is committed to the success of every student from the time that they enroll at the College until they walk across the stage at Commencement,” said Dennis Craig, Vice President and Associate Provost for Enrollment for Purchase College. “Purchase College’s focus on degree attainment places a strong emphasis on the engagement of students both in and out of the classroom. Students are encouraged to become active participants in their own academic success.”
Colleges with high minority graduation rates tend to aggressively recruit a “critical mass” of black and Hispanic students, support them with pre-collegiate preparatory programs and then cultivate a culture of academic success for the entire student body. When a college president sets minority completion “as an important goal and as a priority, that really filters down through the university,” Lynch said.
The ten other schools recognized are: Stony Brook University, George Mason University, Towson University, Georgia State University, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University of New Orleans, University of California at Riverside, University of Miami, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and University of Tampa.