The logic of civil rights led to a series of Supreme Court rulings that "separate but equal" was internally inconsistent.  Thus, common schools, eateries, or private and public parks, must be open to all comers without regard to race or colors, and state flagship universities must be open to qualified applicants, a point that required federal muscle to enforce.

What, then, happens to the institutional infrastructure of de jure segregation?  Might the colleges and universities thus set up have been separate, unequal (as those rulings held) and, as desegregation becomes law and emerges as practice, superfluous?

That's got investigative reporters at Atlanta's Journal-Constitution working.
In analyzing federal data for an in-depth examination of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities, the AJC found that the six-year graduation rates at 20 schools were 20 percent or lower in 2015.

This means that four of five beginning freshmen at those schools didn’t earn a degree within six years.
The paper promises an extended series on these institutions, which still have great sentimental value among Americans with African roots, and in civil rights constituencies viewed more generally.  And yet, higher education is devoid of any original thinking about how, best, to make those colleges or universities competitive in the market for degrees.
“Yes, there are some HBCUs that have low graduation rates,” said Marybeth Gasman, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania who directs the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, in an email to the AJC.  “And some that are in the single digits. . . . This is problematic and a school must do better by having summer bridge programs, peer-to-peer mentoring, student success centers — all focused on increasing retention and graduation rates.” 
I don't know, that seems to presuppose that such schools are unable to compete in the U. S. News league tables, and must somehow build graduating classes out of Distressed Material.  Or, perhaps, is the professor suggesting that Jim Crow is still with us, if in a less explicit form?
To [close underachieving colleges] would be to further dismantle Jim Crow. Texas Southern and Southern are among the historically black colleges and universities. Presumably the point of integrating Ole Miss and Texas and the like is to compel the state flagship universities to admit the best, irrespective of, as we used to say, race, creed, or color. If there is excess capacity in access-assessment-remediation-retention, might the institutions set up to maintain segregation not be a good place to look?
Or perhaps, yet again, higher education is somehow the inculcator-of-middle-class-skills of last resort.
“Graduation rates directly correlate with the income of the student body. More low income students — typically, lower graduation rates. Why? Because low-income students don’t have access to the same college prep opportunities and because they don’t have the financial safety nets of middle and upper income students. Please note that institutions that have very few Pell Grant-eligible students typically have very, very high graduation rates.”
Yes, and the reality of many, perhaps the majority, of collegians involves some elements of financial insecurity or food insecurity or perhaps parents or siblings or children dependent on their efforts outside the classroom.  All the same, how long can higher education go on offering students from difficult circumstances a simulacrum of a real degree, whilst blaming the difficult circumstances on globalization or assorted other -ations, -isms, and -phobias?

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