Report Reveals Black Students Significantly More Likely to Drop Out of Postsecondary Education

A new report from the Institute of Education Sciences has analyzed the postsecondary enrollment, completion, and financial aid outcomes of students who were in ninth-grade in 2009. The findings are from the Postsecondary Education Administrative Records Collection of the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, which tracked students from their ninth-grade year in 2009 through their postsecondary experiences through 2021.

Out of all student participants who enrolled in some form of postsecondary education, 53.2 percent were White and only 12.9 percent were Black. Within this group, over half of Black student respondents never completed their postsecondary program, compared to less than one third of White respondents. Additionally, White participants were more likely than Black participants to complete all levels of postsecondary education including professional certificates or diplomas, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and graduate degrees.

Additionally, the study found Black respondents were less likely than their White peers to enroll in a postsecondary STEM program. Black students were 10 percentage points more likely than their White peers to enroll in a non-STEM program. For those who did enroll in a STEM-related program, Black students were most likely to enroll in a life sciences, mathematics, or agricultural science program, rather than an engineering or computer and information science program.

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