University of California, Riverside a National Leader in African American Graduation Rates

University graduates black students at a higher rate than white students

graduates in regalia

Black Graduation Ceremony at UCR.

WASHINGTON — The University of California, Riverside, has been recognized as one of the nation’s best institutions in successfully graduating black students relative to their white counterparts, according to a new study released today.

While black student graduation rates lag white student graduation rates by about 22 percent nationally, UCR graduates black students at a rate 1.7 percent higher than white students, announced The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that analyzed data from four-year colleges and universities in its report, “A Look at Black Student Success: Identifying Top- and Bottom-Performing Institutions.”

“This report highlights what we’ve known for a while—that UCR is a national leader in student success,” UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox said. “This achievement has only been possible through a collaborative effort involving our entire campus community over a number of years.”

The Education Trust report reviewed publicly available graduation data at 676 nonprofit institutions. In the report, the authors spotlight 18 universities and colleges that stand out for high graduation rates for black students, with slight, or no, completion gaps between black and white students.

UC Riverside is the only California-based institution among the 18, and is No. 2 among those 18 in its black students who complete their four-year educations. At UCR, 69.5 percent of black students graduate, compared with 41 percent nationally.

“This national ranking is a testament to the perseverance of our black scholars, and the support our department provides,” said Ken Simons, director of African Student Programs (ASP) at UCR. “When we as a campus embrace our young black scholars and let them know that we appreciate their hard work, when we let them know their aspirations matter, that is all the empowerment they need to succeed.”

Simons credits the success of UCR black students to an overall campus culture of inclusion, and to the ASP, founded at UCR in 1972. ASP provides resources for student success.

“Many scholars of African descent attending UCR are often the first in their families to go to college, and we know that they face more disparities and difficulties than UCR students on average,” Simons said.

UCR has been recognized nationally for its lack of racial disparity in graduation rates. This past year, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) gave the university its 2016 “Project Degree Completion Award” for innovation in boosting graduation rates.

The Education Trust ( is a Washington, D.C.-based education policy organization that promotes high academic achievement for students of all ages, with a goal of closing gaps in opportunity and achievement.

“After conducting nearly a decade of research on high-performing universities, we know that institutions that have the most success set clear improvement goals, mine their data to help identify problems and refine practices, and optimize the use of whatever resources they have,” said Jose Luis Santos, vice president of higher education policy and practice at the Trust.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756

Additional Contacts

Nicolle Grayson
Tel: 202-293-1217, ext. 354

Archived under: Inside UCR, Politics/Society, , , , , , ,

Top of Page