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The success rate of four-year public college students varies widely by race

The American public college system may not be the engine of equality most people imagine.

Of black students who started at a four-year public college in 2012, roughly 48% graduated within six years, according to data released Wednesday by the National Student Clearinghouse, an organization that tracks college completion data.

Of white students who started the same year, 72% finished in six years — a gap of about 25 percentage points. The gulf in completion rates between Hispanic and white students stands at about 15 percentage points, the report found.

The gap in completion rates between different ethnic groups adds to the growing body of evidence that the U.S.

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