The Persisting Racial Income Gap Puts Black Families at a Severe Disadvantage in Paying for College

Money remains a major problem hindering further progress of blacks in higher education. More than two thirds of all black students who drop out of college do so for financial reasons. Tuition increases and cuts to financial aid budgets resulting from the nation’s severe economic recession will put further financial pressures on tens of thousands of African-American college students.

New data from the Census Bureau shows that black families are far less likely to be able to afford the costs of higher education on their own. In 2008 the median black family income in the United States was $34,218. This is only 61 percent of the median income of white families in this country.

The census figures also show that 23.2 percent, almost one in every four white families, have incomes over $100,000. These families are likely to have the income or other assets to be able to afford to send their children to college without having deep concerns about affordability.

In contrast, only 10 percent of black families have incomes above $100,000 per year.