New Reports Shows Progress in African American College Enrollments and Degree Attainments

PellThe Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania have issued a new report that examines trends in high education enrollments, retention, and degree attainment by family income, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.

The report shows that while bachelor’s degree attainment rates have increased for all family income quartiles, the distribution of bachelor’s degree attainment between family income levels has remained relatively constant since 1970.

The report does report some progress in college enrollments and degree attainment for African Americans. For example, in 1980 Blacks were about 12 percent of the U.S. population and attained 7 percent of the bachelor’s degrees conferred. Thus, Blacks were just over half (58 percent) as likely to be represented among bachelor’s degree recipients as in the U.S. population. By 2013, Blacks were 13 percent of the population and received 11 percent of the bachelor’s degrees conferred, indicating that Blacks were about 85 percent as likely to be represented among bachelor’s degree recipients as in the population.

The full report, Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 2016 Historical Trend Report, can be downloaded by clicking here.

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