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Xavier University of Louisiana named #1 HBCU for relative graduate earnings in new study

A new study shows that graduates from the nation's Black Catholic university earn more, compared to their state's Black graduates, than any HBCU in America.


Xavier University of Louisiana, the nation’s only Black Catholic institution of higher education, has been named the top HBCU in the nation for graduate earnings, according to a new national study.

The data measures the income of graduates compared to the median salary earned by Black alumni of other schools in their respective states.

XULA came out on top, with graduates reportedly earning more than $15,000 above the average for Louisiana. According to the rankings, completed by OnlineU earlier this year, the median salary for a XULA grad is currently $52,582.

“We decided to publish this study because there are popular rankings of HBCUs, but they often don't provide insight into the comparative value of attending an HBCU over any other college in the same state,” said Adrian Ramirez, an OnlineU representative.

“Comparing median earnings at HBCUs to other Black graduates in the state helps to highlight the value each college provides to the communities they serve, and also accounts for racial inequities in the labor market that negatively impact salaries for Black college graduates.”

The new rankings were formulated last month, and are similar to this year’s overall HBCU rankings, most notably that of US News—which placed XULA at #3 for the 2022 list.

Four of the top 5 HBCUs in that ranking also topped OnlineU’s new list, with Spelman College (who took #1 in US News) landing at #2 for graduate earnings, followed by Hampton University and Morehouse College.

The new list also comes hot on the heels of XULA being named late last year as the top HBCU in the nation for social mobility, which took into account what percentage of students from families in the button 40% of earners progressed after graduation into the top 60%.

Additionally, the school announced this week that it was named the #2 HBCU for economic mobility, and in the top 3% among all universities. That study, from think tank Third Way, measures the time it takes low-income students to recoup the cost of their education.

According to OnlineU, XULA’s annual net cost currently stands at $21,800, and more than half of students receive Pell Grants.

The university has also established several new programs of study and graduate school partnerships in recent years, and maintains a Black student enrollment of roughly 75%.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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