The nation’s highest-ranked universities are generally very secretive of their admission rates for African American students. Due to the threat of litigation, many of the nation’s highest-ranked universities are unwilling to add fuel to the fire by showing any preferences for Black applicants.
But the federal government requires these universities to submit data on the graduation rates of all students and to break this data down by racial and ethnic group.
All of the 20 highest-ranked universities in the United States according to ratings by U.S. News & World Report have Black student graduation rates far higher than the national average of 48 percent. This is not surprising because these universities attract and admit the best and the brightest students, who are likely to succeed in a challenging academic environment. Also, these high-ranking universities generally have large endowments and generous financial aid packages that shield Black students from low-income families from the financial burdens of elite higher education.
Yet, there are significant differences in the graduation rates of Black students at these universities. Among the 20 highest-rated institutions in the U.S. News rankings, over the past four cohorts of entering students, Harvard University has an average Black student graduation rate of 98 percent. At Yale, the Black student graduation rate is 97 percent. Princeton University graduates 95 percent of its Black students. Also posting a Black student graduation rate of over 90 percent are Columbia University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, Duke University, Brown University, MIT, Dartmouth College, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Cornell University.
Among the 20 highest-ranked universities in the U.S. News survey, UCLA had the lowest Black student graduation rate of 79 percent. The Black student graduation rate was between 86 percent and 88 percent at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, Caltech, and Rice University.