More Than One in Five Black Students in Higher Education Say They Face Discrimination Regularly

A new survey by the Gallup Organization for the Lumina Foundation finds that 21 percent of all Black students currently enrolled in U.S. higher education say they feel discriminated against “frequently” or “occasionally” in their program. Black students are not only more likely to say they frequently or occasionally feel discriminated against but also to say they feel disrespected and physically or psychologically unsafe.

The survey found that Black learners are more likely to feel discriminated against at institutions with the least racially diverse student bodies. Nearly one third of the Black students at the least diverse colleges and universities said they experienced discrimination compared to 17 percent of Black students at the institutions with the most diverse student bodies. Some 28 percent of Black students at the least diverse campuses said they felt physically unsafe compared to 16 percent of Black students at the most diverse institutions.

More than one third of Black students at private, for-profit educational institutions reported that they feel discriminated against “frequently” or “occasionally.”At private, not-for-profit educational institutions, 23 percent of Black students faced frequent or occasional discrimination. Only 16 percent of Black students at state-operated educational institutions were discriminated against frequently or occasionally.

The authors of the report conclude that “students’ experiences with discrimination may in some cases suggest a need for greater regulatory oversight; for example, some advocacy organizations have called for greater accountability measures that prevent for-profit colleges from targeting minority communities with inferior program qualities and predatory lending practices.”

The full report, Balancing Act: The Tradeoffs and Challenges Facing Black Students in Higher Education, may be downloaded here.

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