Less than 25% of enrolled black students at Wayne State graduate within six years

New numbers released this week show Wayne State University has a significantly lower graduation rate for black students than the national average.

The numbers, from 2017, show only 21% of black students who start at Wayne State University will obtain their degree within six years.

The national average is near 50%.

For white students, the graduation rate is roughly 60%. 

Wayne State President Dr. Roy Wilson said students aren't prepared before they arrive at WSU.

"A school system that wasn't preparing the kids for college, including financial issues, lack of transportation all these kind of things," Dr. Wilson said.

Additionally, he said this is a big improvement over where the school was nine years ago.

"Black graduation rate was a dismal 7%. The six-year graduation rate was 7% (in 2011)," Dr. Wilson said. "It was one of the worst in the country."

By 2017, Wayne State University was recognized nationally by the prestigious Association of Public and Land Grant Universities for doing the most to complete degrees for disadvantaged students.

While Dr. Wilson said this is a sign of progress, Dr. Michael Busuito, a member of the WSU Board of Governors said enrollment of black students is down significantly. 

"If you look at absolute numbers, it's not good," Dr. Busuito said. "Our black enrollment is down 40% over the last eight years or so since he's been here."

Dr. Wilson admits black enrollment is down 40% but says admission standards have been tougher over the years for all students. 

Dr. Busuito would like to get the graduation up to the national average.

"I think we should, within the next few years, get (the graduation rate) above 50%," said Dr. Busuito, who said he doesn't believe that goal is possible with Dr. Wilson as president.