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Pennsylvania college students beat national average for graduation |

Pennsylvania college students beat national average for graduation

Deb Erdley

Pennsylvania college students are graduating at rates well above the national average, despite a troubling racial gap.

Those were among the findings in a new study of six-year graduation rates for students who were college freshmen in 2012. The report, released by the National Student Clearinghouse, found 72.6 percent of Pennsylvania students in the state’s public universities graduated within six years, compared to 65.5 percent nationally.

The same trend had even better outcomes at the state’s private nonprofit colleges where 82.57 percent of students, or better than four out of five, graduated in six years, compared to 76.06 percent across the nation.

But the clearinghouse report also identified a racial gap in graduation rates that raises questions about how well minorities are faring at the state’s four-year public universities. Those universities include the 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education as well as Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln universities.

Researchers found the six-year graduation rates were:

•75.8 percent among Asians

•50 percent for blacks

•66 percent for Hispanics

•76.97 percent for whites

The racial gap in Pennsylvania was slightly higher than the 25 percent national gap between blacks and whites.

The report did not include racial breakdowns for private colleges.

Although most bachelors degrees can be completed in four years of full-time study, experts track six-year graduation rates.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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