A new study shows big gaps between graduation rates for whites and African-Americans still exist at Iowa’s Regents institutions. A research group known as The Education Trust reports around 66% of the white students at the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and Iowa State University graduate within six years – well above the national average.

But, researcher Jennifer Engle says at the U-of-I only 44% of blacks make it through – a gap of 22%. “Although their African American students graduate at higher rates than the national average, given the success of its white students, we would expect (the University of Iowa) to help their African American students succeed at the same rate as (white students),” Engle said.

The gap at U.N.I. is 27%. The University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa both showed up on a list of 25 schools with the biggest gaps between white and minority graduation rates and researchers cite a significant gap at ISU as well. Engle says the survey shows retaining minority students is difficult for the schools in Iowa – which have relatively small minority enrollments.

“We did see a range of representation on campus across the institutions on the large gap list,” Engle said. “There certainly are a number of institutions that make the list that do have small proportions of African American students on campus.” Nationwide, 40% of African American students are graduating within six years.