Howard University last year offered a large carrot to its students to encourage them to graduate on time.

This April, the school announced it has begun making good on its promise to offer 50 percent refunds on students’ final semester’s tuition to those who attain their degrees within four years.

The rebates, which average about $5,750 each, are currently being made via cash, credit card or installment plan now through May graduation.

“Howard University has an unwavering commitment to the needs of its students. We are excited to offer our students this financial rebate as a reward for accomplishing their goals on time,” said Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick in a statement.  “We certainly hope some financial relief is provided as well.”

Founded in 1867 and located in the District, Howard University is a private, research university and one of the nation’s leading historically Black higher education institutions.

The graduation rates for African-American college students have long lagged behind their White counterparts, as a paper published earlier this year by The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that promotes high academic achievement for all students, particularly for students of color and low-income students, shows.

Researchers found that “while a majority (almost 70 percent) of institutions we examined improved graduation rates for Black students, those gains haven’t been large or fast enough to close gaps between Black and White students. In fact, in many cases, these gaps have widened.”