California Community Colleges Graduate Only a Small Percentage of Their Black Students and Few Blacks Transfer to Four-Year Institutions

The California Community College system is the largest higher education system in the world. It enrolls more than 2.5 million students at 110 different campuses. Blacks make up about 8 percent of the total enrollments at California community colleges.

About half of all students who enroll in community college enroll in academic programs leading to a two-year associate’s degree, which would enable them to transfer to a four-year program at a campus of the University of California or California State University.

But a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California finds that less than half of these students complete more than one year of community college work. Only 6 percent of students persist to earn a two-year associate’s degree and about 15 percent transfer to a four-year college. The study found that for recent black high school graduates who entered a community college, only 19 percent went on to transfer to a four-year college. For Asian-American recent high school graduates who enrolled in community college, 41 percent eventually transferred to four-year institutions. For whites, the figure is 30 percent. Only 6 percent of blacks earned a two-year associate’s degree compared to 11 percent of whites.