New Data on the Racial Gap in Degree Attainments

graduation_cap_and_diploma-2091The U.S. Department of Education has released preliminary statistics on the number of degrees earned at U.S. colleges and universities for the 2011-12 academic year. African Americans make up about 14 percent of all students enrolled in higher education but they are a far lower percentage of all degree earners.

The data shows that African Americans received 307,469 degrees from four-year institutions in the 2011-12 academic year. This was 10.1 percent of all degrees earned at these institutions. African Americans earned 8.8 percent of all four-year degrees at public institutions and 9.2 percent of all four-year degrees at private, not-for-profit colleges and universities. At private, for-profit degree-granting institutions, African Americans earned 19.2 percent of all degrees awarded.

At two-year colleges, African Americans received 83,147 degrees. This was 11.8 percent of all two-year degrees.

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  1. This sounds like parity to me. The percentage of African Americans receiving college degrees (14%) is equal to the population demographic (13%).

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