Report Finds that “It’s Time to Worry About College Enrollment Declines Among Blacks”

A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, higher education was facing a national decline in enrollment. From the 2014-15 to the 2018-19 academic year, annual undergraduate enrollment across all institutions of higher education fell by 1.25 million students, a decline of 5 percentage points.

There has been a decline of more than 200,000 Black students in public colleges and universities. The number of Black and White students in private nonprofit and for-profit institutions also declined over this period.

The report notes that the percentage of young White Americans with at least an associate’s degree is 19 percentage points higher than for young Black adults. Absent significant increases in graduation rates, declines in the number of Black students in college will make it hard to shrink their attainment gap relative to White students.

The report concludes that “the novel coronavirus makes responding to these enrollment changes even more important. While it is currently unknown how the pandemic will affect college attendance and completion for the full academic year, initial data suggest that there has already been a significant decline in Black student enrollment.”

Related Articles


  1. Good news! People (Black and White) are getting the message that these over-priced college degrees just put them into a lot of debt without getting jobs commensurate with the debt they incurred. Fewer people need to get college degrees, both black and white, because there aren’t enough jobs for those people. The only blacks who need bother to attend college are those contacted by institutions because they’re so smart that their offered scholarships to attend. Otherwise, they probably aren’t adequately prepared to graduate in 4 years, and like most Blacks, won’t graduate. This college thing is way over-valued and is the biggest scam going.

    • The main purpose of a university education should be to organize and enrich an individual’s understanding of the world. Not just to acquire the skills for a job.

      So it is hardly good news to hear about declines in enrollment. On the other hand, there is no question that many universities deliver courses that are of such little value that they do not leave students much better off.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

North Carolina A&T State University Mounts Effort to Educate Heirs Property Owners

Heirs property is land passed down through a family, often over multiple generations and to numerous descendants, without the use of wills or probate courts. In North Carolina, the value of land owned as heirs property is estimated at nearly $1.9 billion. Heirs property is disproportionately held by Black landowners.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

New Legislation Aims to Boost Entrepreneurial Efforts of HBCU Students

Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) has introduced the Minority Entrepreneurship Grant Program Act, bipartisan legislation that creates a grant program with the Small Business Administration for entrepreneurs at minority-serving institutions like historically Black colleges and universities.

Featured Jobs