March 20, 2006
For the 12th year in a row the University of Virginia has been ranked #1 when it comes to black students’ graduation rate. Despite racial tension University officials said black students are graduating in record numbers.
UVA has the highest graduation rate for black students among major public universities. According to the Journal of Black in Higher Education, 86% of students who started school at UVA in the fall of 1998 have graduated, compared to only 42% of students graduating from public universities nationwide.
Dean Rick Turner of African American Affairs said it's not just about getting good grades, it's about giving students the extra help to succeed.
"They need to be supported when they come into these institutions and we have probably the best support programs in the country," said Dean Turner.
"We have a lot of programs other universities don't have, like our peer advisor program," said Lisa Ivey, a second year UVA student.
The peer advisor program matches incoming students with older students to help them academically and socially. University officials said this is a positive response to a string of racially motivated incidences earlier this school year.
"It tells society that these students are strong, they come from strong families and they will not be deterred because of racial incidences," said Dean Turner.
"They were unfortunate and erratic incidences and they do not in any way reflect the character or the quality of the institution," said William Harvey, the chief officer for diversity and equality.
Officials said the data proves it; UVA has been rank #1 for 12 years in a row.
The journal states most black students did not graduate because of high student loan debt.