Seattle University ranked number one out of private universities nationwide, for increasing graduation rates and closing gaps between Hispanic and Caucasian students. The reports released this week by The Education Trust, also ranked SU number two, for increasing the overall graduation rate of Hispanic students by 31.7 percent during a six-year period (2004-10). The Caucasian to Hispanic graduation rate gap was 5.3 percent in 2010, compared to 23.2 in 2004.
In 2009, 7.6 percent of SU's undergraduate students were Hispanic. Their graduation rate in 2004 was 46.9 percent and rose to 78.6 percent in 2010. SU is the only private school in Washington state on the list of top 25 gainers in Hispanic graduation rates, and the only Jesuit school in the nation, on the list.
Nationwide, college graduation rates are particularly low among students of color, a fast-growing demographic in America.
"Seattle University has a long and distinguished history of being a gateway institution for talented students from a variety of cultural backgrounds," said Isiaah Crawford, provost. "From the day they step onto our campus, we commit ourselves to their success and graduation from our university. We are very pleased to have our accomplishments with our students recognized in this way by The Education Trust."
The Education Trust ranks top gap-closers as universities and colleges who do not grow more exclusive over time, and make gains in graduation rates for Hispanic students, while keeping graduation rates for white students steady or improving.
"Thankfully, some institutions are showing us that the status quo is not inevitable," said José Cruz, vice president for higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust. "The lessons are clear: What institutions of higher education do-and don't do-for students directly and powerfully impacts student success. The schools we've identified provide vivid sign posts on the road to boosting graduation rates at colleges and universities across the country."