Graduation Rates

The Washington Monthly:
There’s been a bit of discussion in the blogosphere recently about the very low graduation rates at historically black colleges ... only 38% nationally...

As we crunched the numbers for the upcoming (and totally spectacular!) Washington Monthly College Rankings, we noticed that a school’s graduation rate correlated very closely with the percentage of its student body receiving Pell Grants—federal funds that are the best available measure of how many poor students a given school enrolls. The statistical correlation was clear: The more poor students at a given school, the lower its graduation rate tended to be. ...

One of our goals for the project was to measure each college’s contribution to social mobility: How well was each college doing at taking poor kids and getting them college degrees? By running a statistical regression, we could determine what a given school’s predicted graduation rate should be, based on the number of Pell Grant recipients. ...

So back to the historically black colleges. One of the surprising things we found, especially given the recent spate of negative press, was that some HB schools did astoundingly well in our social mobility rankings—that is, they graduated far higher proportions of their student bodies than most schools with similar socioeconomic distributions.

An interesting way of looking at the problem of low graduation rates. Their analysis makes sense, but they don't give enough information to anaylze their claims directly.


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