SRU earns national recognition for improved graduation rates for black students


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March 23, 2016

, Pa. - Slippery Rock University has been ranked as one of the top 30 universities in the country for having substantially improving overall graduation rates while also achieving gains for black students.

The ranking was part of a new Education Trust report, "Rising Tide II: Do Black Students Benefit as Grad Rates Increase?," which was released today.

SRU's three-year average graduation rate for black students is 48.4 percent, which is up 16.4 percent over a 10-year span covering 2003-2013. The three-year average for white students at SRU is 62.8 percent, an increase of 11.2 percent during that same time period.

"We applaud the leadership at Slippery Rock University for working to improve graduation rates for black students -- and close gaps between white and black students -- over the last decade," said Jose Luis Santos, vice president for higher education program and policy, The Education Trust.

"We have highlighted your institution for pointedly addressing completion among black students as an example for others to follow and we look forward to seeing improved progress over the next few years."

In terms of overall completion rates, SRU has a four-year graduation rate of 50.9 percent. The University's six-year graduation rate is 67.5 percent, ranking it first among all schools in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

The report examines 232 institutions with at least 30 first-time, full-time black students and 30 first-time, full-time white students that improved overall graduation rates from 2003-2013.

What was found was that while 70 percent of institutions in the sample increased graduation rates for black students, more than half (53 percent) failed to close the completion gap between black and white students. Further, almost a third of the schools studied (73 schools) saw their graduation rates for black students either decrease or stay the same.

The study is a continuation of Ed Trust's "Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students," report released in December 2015, in which it was found that for black students, graduation rates improved at a slower rate (4.4 percentage points) than for any other student group -- creating a wider gap in student outcomes than existed 10 years ago.

In that report, SRU was one of 26 schools recognized for improving its graduation rate for underrepresented students (Black, Latino and Native American) by 12 or more percentage points, or two times the average increase for the 1,300 institutions in the sample.

The complete report can be found at:

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