A study by researchers at Florida State University and Vanderbilt University finds that more than 60 percent of the racial gap in college completion rates can be explained by factors such as socioeconomic status and poorer preparation for college among Blacks and other minorities. The research was based upon a comprehensive dataset from Texas and select national datasets.
The results found that college graduation rates are largely determined by what happened before college — such as family resources, academic preparation and community context — and that the key non-college factors may well differ for communities of color.
Toby Park, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Florida State University and a co-author of the study, stated that “college completion is not just a postsecondary story as upwards of 61 percent of the racial college completion gap can be explained by pre-college characteristics. That’s not to say that postsecondary education is off the hook when it comes to accountability, but rather to suggest that the college completion story is more complicated and nuanced than could be captured by simply comparing graduation rates amongst colleges.”