The Racial Disparity in Grade Point Averages

A whole lot more Americans might be graduating from college but it turns out that, despite widespread fears about grade inflation, many of them are graduating with pretty low grades. This is particularly true of black students.

According to a piece published in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, for students graduating from college in 2008,

Some 75 percent of all White bachelor degree recipients had a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. For Blacks, 55.3 percent of all graduates had a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Whites were more than twice as likely as Blacks to graduate with grade point averages better than 3.5. Two out of every five White graduates but less than one in five Black graduates achieved a GPA greater than 3.5.

Blacks were nearly three times as likely as Whites to graduate with a GPA of less than 2.5. Some 14.5 percent of Black graduates and 5.5 percent of White graduates had a GPA of less than 2.5.

Then again, with a GPA under 2.5, they’re pretty lucky to be graduating at all.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer