The Impact of Expenditures and Financial Aid on Racial Gaps in Institutional Graduation Rates in the U.S.


  • Scott M. Myers Montana State University, USA
  • Carrie B. Myers Montana State University, USA



Higher education; graduation rates; racial gaps


There is a persistent gap in institutional-level graduation rates between U.S. Whites and underrepresented minorities (URM). This gap remains as graduation rates have increased for both Whites and URM. We tested whether these six-year graduation rate gaps among incoming undergraduate freshman cohorts were a function of institutional expenditures and financial aid. Our results were mixed. The gaps were much wider at institutions that spent more on academic and student services and who enrolled cohorts with higher average student loan amounts. Yet, these gaps between Whites and URM narrowed at institutions where students had larger average institutional and state/local grants. Our discussion centered on the changing financial context of higher education and the contributing roles of capital and institutional racial climate.


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Author Biographies

Scott M. Myers, Montana State University, USA

SCOTT M. MYERS, PhD, is a Professor of Sociology at Montana State University. His interests include Sociology of Education and Demography. He is currently examining the role of dual enrollment experience during high school on college outcomes. Email:

Carrie B. Myers, Montana State University, USA

CARRIE B. MYERS, PhD, is a Professor of Higher Education & Administration and Director of the College Teaching Certificate Program at Montana State University. Her current research examines the graduate school experiences and outcomes of Native American/Alaskan Natives students as well as international students. Email: