Mason Recognized Among Schools with Highest Minority Graduation Rates

Posted: August 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm

By Catherine Ferraro and Daniel Walsch

"Nearly every student who comes to the university is going to find a cohort of students they can see themselves fitting into," says Mason's Dean of Admissions Andrew Flagel. Creative Services photo

George Mason University has been recognized as one of the few universities in the nation with little or no disparity in graduation rates between African American and Hispanic students compared with white students, according to two recent reports by the Education Trust.

The Education Trust is an advocacy group that promotes high-academic achievement for students at all levels, with a focus on low-income families. In the reports, the Education Trust focused on two underrepresented minorities: African Americans and Hispanics.

According to the reports, graduation rates across the nation are 15 to 20 points lower for African American and Hispanic students than for white students. At Mason, however, 57 percent of whites graduate, compared with 63 percent of African Americans and 59 percent of Hispanics.

Only ten other national universities achieved no graduation-rate gaps for both Hispanics and African Americans, according to the reports. Of the hundreds of institutions the Education Trust looked at, Towson University in Maryland was the only other college in the Washington, D.C., area to attain that designation.

The reports also indicate that Mason was one of four public universities in Virginia to have a very small graduation gap between whites and African Americans. The other institutions are Old Dominion University, Radford University and Christopher Newport University.

When looking at Hispanic students, Mason was again one of four public universities in Virginia to have a very small graduation gap between whites and Hispanics. The other institutions are Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University and James Madison University.

“Mason is intensely globally diverse, as nearly every student who comes to the university is going to find a cohort of students they can see themselves fitting into. This reality is virtually impossible to replicate,” says Andrew Flagel, dean of Admissions.

“The fact that minority students feel such comfort at Mason contributes greatly to the statistics that show African American students graduating at a higher rate.”

According to fall 2009 enrollment, Mason boasts approximately 19,700 undergraduate students. Of those, 2,293 have self-identified as African American and 2,264 as Hispanic.

Flagel also notes that Mason has a tradition of multiculturalism. More than 130 countries are represented among its student population.

The full reports are available online: “Big Gaps, Small Gaps: Some Colleges and Universities Do Better Than Others in Graduating African-American Students” and “Big Gaps, Small Gaps: Some Colleges and Universities Do Better Than Others in Graduating Hispanic Students.”

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