VCU recognized among nation’s best for closing minority graduation rate gap

VCU recognized among nation’s best for closing minority graduation rate gap

Virginia Commonwealth University is listed among the nation’s top public institutions of higher learning for boosting graduation rates for underrepresented minority students and for closing the graduation rate gap between minorities and white students, according to a report released today by The Education Trust.

The report, “Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students?”, found that VCU increased the six-year graduation rate for black, Latino and Native-American students by 15.5 percent between 2003 and 2013 and narrowed the graduation gap between underrepresented minorities and their white peers by 3.3 percent over the same time period.

“The Education Trust report helps to illustrate the university’s ongoing commitment to supporting minority students,” said Luke Schultheis, Ph.D., vice provost for strategic enrollment management. “And our trends continue to improve. In the fall of 2015, VCU reported the graduation rate for African-American students increased to 64 percent, which continues to exceed the national average.”

The Education Trust examined six-year graduation rates among first-time, full-time students at 1,309 four-year public colleges and universities. VCU was one of 26 “top-gaining institutions” highlighted in the report for vast improvements in completion rates for all students, increasing graduation rates for underrepresented students and declining gaps in graduation rates between underrepresented and white students.   

“VCU is committed to the success of all students. Closing the graduation gap has been a university priority for several years with appropriate resources and support from the highest levels to make it happen,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “Most of all, this is a testament to our students, who are unrelenting on their path to success, and the dedication of our faculty and staff who mentor and support them.”

Virginia Commonwealth University information: 

3-Year Average Graduation Rate for URM Students (2013)(Percentage)


10-Year Change in URM Student Graduation Rates (2003-2013)(Percentage point)


3-Year Average Overall Graduation Rate (2013) (Percentage)


10-Year Change in Overall Graduation Rate (2003-2013)(Percentage Point)


3-Year Average Graduation Rate for White students (2013)(Percentage)


10-Year Change in White Student Graduation Rate (2003-2013)(Percentage Point)


10-Year Change in Gaps Between White and URM Students (2003-2013)(Percentage Point)


Source: “Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students?” by The Education Trust 

The Education Trust is a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino or Native American — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and