From the essay “Low Graduation Rates Aren’t an HBCU Thing” published by The Root:
A black woman with a teenage son told me that several people had sent her the recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about black colleges “struggling” with low graduation rates to warn her against sending her son to an HBCU. The article’s headline stated that the six-year graduation rates at “many” HBCUs are lower than 20 percent.
With no mention of the total number of HBCUs anywhere in the article, the reader must infer what “many” means. In total, 101 HBCUs currently qualify for federal support; therefore, the AJC’s definition of “many” is just shy of 20 percent. In addition, according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 602 non-HBCU institutions of higher education, including predominantly white institutions, have graduation rates of 20 percent or less. This represents just shy of 20 percent of all institutions of higher education with data available for analysis. So if 20 percent means “many” to the AJC, the article should have been titled, “6-Year Graduation Rates at Many Colleges and Universities Lower Than 20 Percent,” and “HBCU” removed from the center of the story.