Tracking the Progress of African Americans in Degree Attainments

department-of-educationNew data from the U.S. Department of Education shows the tremendous progress African Americans made in degree attainments in the first decade of the 21st century.

In the 1999-2000 academic year, African Americans earned 10.9 percent of all associate’s degrees earned in the United States. By the 2009-2010 academic year, African Americans earned 13.7 percent of all associate’s degrees awarded.

In a bachelor’s degree awards, the percentage of Blacks among all degree earners increased from 9.0 percent to 10.3 percent in the 10-year period.

In master’s degree awards, the gains for African Americans were the most impressive. The percentage of African Americans among all master’s degree recipients jumped from 9.0 percent in 1999-2000 to 12.5 percent in 2009-10.

In the 1999-2000 academic year, Blacks earned 6.6 percent of all doctoral degree earned in the United States. By the 2009-2010 academic year, Blacks earned 7.4 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded. These degrees include the Ph.D., Ed.D. and professional doctorates in medicine, law, dentistry, etc. It is at this highest level of degree attainment that African Americans still have a long way to go to reach parity with Whites.

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