Elite colleges a better bet for low-income minority students, ranking finds

A charter school network in the Los Angeles area ranked around 2,500 colleges based on how well they graduate minority students. Brown University, Pomona College, Harvard University, the University of Notre Dame and Skidmore College make up the top five, all of which have six-year graduation rates for African Americans and Latinos of 95% or greater. The group, called the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, found more selective four-year institutions had higher graduation rates for minority students, followed by other four-year institutions and community colleges, the Los Angeles Times reported. There was a wide variance among similar institutions, suggesting minority students could benefit from information about individual colleges' graduation rates. The highest-ranking colleges on the list tend to offer a mix of peer mentoring, transition programs, financial aid and counseling. Though some selective colleges are more likely to graduate minority students  potentially leading to a greater payoff for their investment many of these students perceive these institutions' hefty price tags as a barrier to attendance. However, the "real cost" of college is usually much lower for low-income and middle-class students than the sticker price suggests. A New York Times analysis of 31 private and one public college found that low-income students with families making $50,000 or less paid on average $6,000 annually.

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