There is a crisis of education in America. Despite being over 50 years removed from the groundbreaking legislation of Brown v. Board of Education, widespread issues of educational equity, quality, discrimination, and stereotypes remain. On college campuses black and brown students face racially hostile climates that undervalue racial and ethnic culture, identity, and experience. Even as the percent of students of color enrolled in college continues to increase, black and brown students are less likely to graduate within 6 years from their initial institution than white students.

Here are some facts:

According to the National Center for Education Statistics,

  • In 2010, over 21 million students enrolled in degree granting colleges and universities in the United States.
  • 38% of enrolled undergrads were American students of color.
  • However, in 2009-2010, only  27% of all bachelor’s degrees conferred were earned by American students of color.
  • For first-time freshmen who began in 2005, 39% graduated within 6 years of initial enrollment. Here’s the break down by racial/ethnic identification:
    • 23% of American Indian students
    • 46% of Asian students
    • 44% of Bi- & Multi-Racial students
    • 21% of Black students
    • 29% of Latino students
    • 44% of Non-Resident & International students
    • 23% of Pacific Islander students
    • 42 % of White students

So, which colleges and universities are on the right track? Which institutions of higher learning are best serving our often underserved students of color? Where are students of color least represented on college campuses? Which schools have the most diverse faculty? Which schools are you most likely to experience a race-related hate crime? Where are you most likely to graduate as a student of color?

These questions will be answered in the HOPE report. We use publicly available data from official college and university websites, the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, and the US Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education. Each week we will highlight several colleges and universities across our 10 Points of Promise. The 10 Points of Promise represent several factors that impact the college going experience, especially for students of color. We will also provide comprehensive lists of the best and worst schools along each Point of Promise.

9 Points of Promise
  1. Undergraduate Racial Diversity Profile
  2. Retention (the number of 1st time freshmen who return their 2nd year)
  3. Graduation Rates (the percent of 1st time freshmen who complete their bachelor’s degree in 6 years)
  4. Graduation Rates by Race
  5. Area, Cultural, & Ethnic Studies Majors & Certificate
  6. Offices of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs
  7. Cultural Student Organizations
  8. Faculty Racial Diversity Profile
  9. Reported Race-Related Hate Crimes


We are excited to explore how our nation’s colleges and universities are working to serve all students. Use the HOPE report to help you learn more about the college or university you attend or want to attend. We look forward to your comments and feedback as we develop the HOPE reports. If you have personal experiences at any of the colleges (positive & negative) please let us know!