Racial Differences in Persistence Rates in U.S. Higher Education

PersistanceA new report from the U.S. Department of Education offers a look at persistence rates of students who entered college during the 2011-12 academic year by examining their status three years later.

We will take a look at racial differences in the persistence rates of entering college students. Three years after entering college in the 2011-12 academic year, 13.2 percent of African Americans had earned a certificate or an associate’s degree by the spring of 2014. For White Americans, 13.8 had earned such a credential. Some 1.6 percent of White Americans and 1.2 percent of African Americans who entered college in 2011-12 had earned a bachelor’s degree within three years.

After three years, 30.2 percent of African Americans remained enrolled at a four-year educational institution and 15.3 percent were still enrolled in a less-than-four-year institution. For Whites, 43.5 percent were still enrolled in a four-year institution and 13.5 percent were enrolled in a less-than-four-year institution. More than 40 percent of all African Americans who enrolled in higher education in the 2011-12 academic year were no longer enrolled in higher education in 2014 and had not earned a degree or certificate of any kind. For Whites, 27.7 percent were no longer enrolled.

The report, Persistence and Attainment of 2011–12 First-Time Postsecondary Students After 3 Years, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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  1. This goes back to a prior study published on this site with research showing that black student were enrolling in higher education in high numbers. Matriculation rates are not important if nothing is done to assuage attrition rates.

    I think the increasing cost of higher education is contributing to black students not persisting through the required 4-year tenure.

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