New Data Shows the Effect of the Pandemic of Black Enrollments in Higher Education

The U.S. Department of Education has released preliminary data on enrollments in higher education in the fall of 2020. These statistics are the first data set of enrollment figures from the Department of Education that reflect the effect of the global pandemic on higher education.

The data shows that there were 19,355,127 students enrolled in higher education in the fall of 2020. This was down from 19,637,499 in the fall of 2019 before the onset of the pandemic. Therefore, total enrollments were down 1.4 percent from 2019. In 2010, more than 21 million students were enrolled in higher education.

There were 2,331,529 Black or African American students enrolled in higher education last fall. In the fall of 2019, there were 2,474,200 Black students enrolled. Thus, Black enrollments were down nearly 6 percent. This is four times the drop for students as a whole. In 2010, more than 3 million Black students were enrolled in higher education.

In 2020, Black students made up 12.0 percent of all enrollments in higher education. In 2019, Blacks made up 12.6 percent of total enrollments.

More than two thirds of all Black students in the fall of 2020 were enrolled in state-operated institutions. They made up 11.2 percent of all students at these institutions. Blacks were 10.9 percent of all students at nonprofit private institutions of higher education.

In 2020, 312,506 Black students were enrolled at for-profit schools. This was 13.4 percent of all African American enrollments in higher education. Only 4.8 percent of White students in 2020 were enrolled at for-profit schools.

In the fall of 2020, there were 353,605 Black students enrolled at graduate schools in the United States. They made up 11.3 percent of all graduate students. This was down slightly from 2019.


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