Big Deficit in Unmet Financial Need for African-American College Students

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that there is a large amount of unmet financial need for African-American college students. This unmet financial need necessarily forces many black students to drop out of college for the simple reason that they cannot afford it.

The financial aid data shows that when all financial aid sources are taken into account, blacks on average have $4,900 in unmet need which they must pay in order to attend college. In 2005 the median income of all black families in the United States was $30,858. That means that half of all black families in this country earn less than this figure. It is virtually impossible for a family with an income of under $30,000 to come up with $4,900 to help pay college tuition and fees. Yet this is the average amount of unmet need that black undergraduates are required to pay each year.

It is also important to note that this average unmet need figure includes those students enrolled in two-year community colleges. If we look at private, four-year colleges, the unmet financial need of black undergraduates rises significantly. At non-doctorate-granting private colleges and universities, the average unmet need for black students is $6,700. For the large research universities that grant doctoral degrees, the average unmet need for black undergraduates is $8,100.