College applicants — especially minority students — should consider graduation rates, advises Education Trust, which reports on Top Gainers and Top Gap Closers among public four-year universities.
At Georgia State, minority students now graduate at rates higher than their non-minority classmates.
Data showed “high failure rates in introductory courses to high dropout rates between the sophomore and junior years, when students transition into courses for their majors.”
Although GSU took a campuswide approach to improving outcomes for all students, when administrators disaggregated the data, they found that some programs were particularly effective for minority students. For example, first-year learning communities—where faculty members coordinate teaching two or more courses and often serve as advisers to the same group of students—were instrumental in improving retention rates between the freshman and sophomore years by five to six percentage points for all students. But for minority students, these rates rose by ten to 12 percentage points.
University of Wisconsin at Madison also improved the minority graduation rate and narrowed the degree gap.