A newly released report by the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center that measures how well public colleges and universities are serving African American students gives high marks to The University of Vermont. 

The report, “Black students at public colleges and universities: A 50-state report card” by Shaun R. Harper and Isaiah Simmons, assigns each school an A-F score based on four equity indicators:

  • “Representation Equity”: The percentage of African American student enrollment relative to the 18-24 year-old African American population in the state.
  • “Gender Equity”: How the percentage of female and male African American students compares to the national enrollment percentages across all racial/ethnic groups (56.3 percent women, 43.7 percent men).
  • “Completion Equity”: Compares the graduation rates of African American students with those of the overall student population at the school they attend.
  • “Black Student-to-Black Faculty Ratio”: Measures the ratio of full-time African American students to full-time African American faculty members.

The University of Vermont earned a “B” grade in the first three indicators and an “A” in the fourth. The grades resulted in a 3.25 “Equity Index” score for UVM, earning it a spot on the report’s list of 36 institutions with the highest “Equity Index” scores out of the 500 plus colleges and universities in the report.

UVM did particularly well in the “Completion Equity” indicator, registering a 70.5 percent graduation rate for its African American students compared to the university’s overall graduation rate of 75.6 percent. It also did well in the “Gender Equity” category, with a gender distribution among African American students of 52.5 percent female and 47.5 percent male, resulting in 3.8 percent variation from national figures. UVM earned its highest grade in the student-to-faculty ratio category with a ratio of 5 African American students per African American faculty member.

The report cautions that a campus that performs well in comparison to others is not necessarily a national model of excellence. 

That is a sentiment echoed by UVM’s Wanda Heading-Grant, vice president for human resources, diversity and multicultural affairs. “While it is important to recognize areas where we are doing well, it is even more important to keep working hard so that we can continue making progress toward providing greater diversity in a just, equitable and inclusive environment for our students,” Heading-Grant said. “We will review the report’s recommendations to see how we can improve on the steps we are already taking.”


University Communications