If America is to restore its status as first-in-the-world in degree attainment, colleges need to do more to ensure that all of their students — especially African-American and Hispanic students — graduate from college. At first glance, the trends look discouraging: Graduation rates for African-American students in our study have largely remained stagnant from 2004 to 2010, and rates for our Hispanic students have only modestly increased. 

However, these trends are not inevitable. Beneath the averages, we find that many schools have increased success and closed graduation-rate gaps for underrepresented students. The charts presented below can help colleges gauge their progress toward producing more degrees. Institutions can benchmark their progress in two ways: Some can focus on making absolute gains in graduation rates for underrepresented students, while others can focus on closing gaps between these students and white students. 

Institutions in the African-American Gainer Sample

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Institutions in the African-American Gap-Closer Sample

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How to use this chart

For a more detailed analysis of these data, read our companion briefs “Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for African-American students,” and “Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for Hispanic students."