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A recent report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University suggests that the type of college where Black students initially enroll could narrow racial disparities in degree completion and influence students’ long-term financial outcomes.

The report was released earlier this month and is based on an analysis of data from nearly 1.2 million Black students who took the SAT between 2004 and 2010. The study found that students who initially enrolled at a historically Black college or university (HBCU) were 14.6 percentage points more likely to graduate than their peers who attended a non-HBCU institution or started at a two-year college.

Black students who enrolled at a non-HBCU four-year institution were 24 percentage points less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within six years than white students over all, according to the report.

In addition to the SAT data, researchers also analyzed National Student Clearinghouse and TransUnion credit bureau data to determine students’ precollege demographics and college completion rates and the estimated household income, credit scores, student loan balances and mortgages they might have by age 30.

“Our rich set of controls and outcomes make this one of the first papers to catalog the longer-term impacts of enrolling in an HBCU with such comprehensive individual-level data,” the report says.

Although enrolling at an HBCU leads to an average of $12,000 more in outstanding student loan debt by age 30, the report explains that this is likely a result of HBCU students tending to stay enrolled for longer periods of time at HBCUs, which are often more expensive than the colleges attended by “students who do not enroll in HBCUs.”

The study also found that students who enroll at HBCUs have a 5 percent higher household income by age 30 than their non-HBCU-enrolled peers.

“This modest difference in estimated household income comes at a point in the former students’ careers whereby HBCU enrollees have much less labor market experience than non-HBCU enrollees because of their additional years of schooling,” the report says. “These points imply that the difference in wages around age 30 has the potential to grow over time.”

The report notes that such positive results are not primarily driven by the most selective HBCUs. Rather, the data shows that students with SAT scores below the median who tend to enroll in less selective HBCUs benefit the most.

“Something about HBCUs appears to positively impact our outcomes of interest above and beyond common measures of institutional selectivity,” the report says. “Researchers occasionally refer to this as the ‘secret sauce.’”