Data for the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates from the National Science Foundation shows racial differences in financial support for students who earn doctoral degrees. For instance, 27.9 percent of Whites who earned doctorates in 2020 had served as research assistants. Only 14.7 percent of African American doctoral recipients served as research assistants. Some 22.1 percent of Whites had teaching assistantships while pursuing doctoral studies compared to 12.5 percent of Blacks.
About one out of every five Whites who earned a doctorate paid for their degrees primarily from their own funds or savings. For African Americans who earned doctorates in 2020, 40.8 percent used their own funds or savings as the primary source for paying for their education.
Only 19.4 percent of all African Americans who earned doctorates in 2020 had no education-related debt when they earned their terminal degree. For Whites, 50.2 percent had no education-related debt. The average graduate education debt for Whites was $20,451. African Americans who earned doctorates in 2020, had an average graduate student debt of $63,087.
A total of 331 of the 2,295, African Americans who earned doctorates in 2019, or 14.4 percent, had graduate student debt of more than $160,000. For Whites, only 2.8 percent of all doctoral recipients had graduate student debt exceeding $160,000.