The Low Completion Rate for Black Students at Community Colleges

In the fall of 2004, nearly 900,000 black students were enrolled in two-year community colleges in the United States. They made up 48 percent of all black students enrolled in higher education that year.

More than 91 percent of all black students enrolled in community colleges attend state-operated institutions.

New figures from the Department of Education show that only a small percentage of entering black students complete their community college program within three years. For black students entering state-operated community colleges in 2001, only 16.6 percent completed a two-year, associate’s degree program by 2004. For whites, 26.3 percent of entering students completed their two-year degree program during the time period.

The small number of blacks at private community colleges did much better. Slightly more than one-half of black students who enrolled at privately operated community colleges completed their studies within a three-year period. For whites at these private community colleges, 62.4 percent earned their degree within the three-year time period.