Low Success Rate for Black Students at California Community Colleges

A new report from the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at California State University Sacramento finds that only one quarter of the students who enroll at a California community college with the express purpose of seeking a degree either complete a two-year associate’s degree program or transfer to a four-year college or university. (Note: About 40 percent of all students who enroll in California community colleges are taking one or two courses to help them with their jobs or to learn a skill but are not enrolled in degree programs. These part-time students are not included in the success rate data.)

For African Americans, the success rate is even lower. For black students seeking a degree at a California community college, only 15 percent earn an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year college or university.

There are 110 institutions in the California community college system. Combined these institutions enroll 2.5 million students. About 120,000 of these students are black.

The importance of the California community colleges to black higher education in the United States becomes clear when one considers that one of every 14 African Americans who are enrolled in higher education today attends a California community college. On top of this, one of every seven black community college students in the United States is enrolled in a state-operated community college in California. Therefore, this new data, which shows that only 15 percent of these black students are succeeding at these community colleges, is a matter of great importance.