Cal Poly Pomona has made significant strides at improving academic success among its black students, according to a newly released study that ranks the university as one of the best in the nation when it comes to serving African Americans.
The university placed ninth best at improving the graduation rates of its black students out of the 232 institutions that were examined.
The study, titled, “Rising Tide II: Do Black Students Benefit as Grad Rates Increase?,” was published by The Education Trust, an organization that “promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, particularly for students of color and low-income students.”
What the study found was concerning: Though overall graduation rates increased at most colleges and universities between 2003 and 2013, the gains were mostly experienced by white, Hispanic and Native students. Black students saw much smaller increases, or no increases at all, exacerbating the achievement gap between the black students and their peers found on most campuses.
“Institutional leaders can’t be satisfied with overall gains — or even just with any increase for black students,” said José Luis Santos, vice president of higher education policy and practice at Ed Trust. “Leaders must strive for accelerated gains among black students so they can catch up to their peers.”
Many were able to do just that. Almost half of the colleges and universities included in the study were able to decrease the achievement gap between black and white students. Public institutions performed much better than private institutions in this area.
At Cal Poly Pomona, the gap in graduation rates between white and black students was reduced by almost 11 points, placing it just head of Cal State Fullerton and just behind Miami University-Oxford in Ohio.
That’s significant progress for the university, but there remains an achievement gap of about 8 percentage points between black and white students at Cal Poly Pomona.
“We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made so far,” says Provost Sylvia Alva. “But we must keep working to close the achievement gap. By continuing to focus on high impact practices and effective academic support programs, we expect to see even greater numbers of students from diverse backgrounds achieving their academic goals.”
Cal Poly Pomona was not the only CSU campus to make the list. In all, eight of the CSUs made it into the top rankings. They are: San Diego State (#1), Chico State (#4), Cal State Fullerton (#10), Cat State Long Beach (#25), San Francisco State (#42), San Jose State (#48), and Cal State Northridge (#52)