Study Finds Large Disparities in Economic Outcomes of African-American College Students Depending on Their Socioeconomic Status Before College

African Americans who have completed a four-year college education have a median income that is very close to that of similarly educated whites. But a new study published in this month’s issue of Research in Higher Education shows that the outcomes vary to a large degree depending on the socioeconomic status of the black student before he or she entered college.

Using data from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA, MaryBeth Walpole, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, found that nine years after first entering college, black students from low-income families were less likely than other blacks to have graduated from college or to have gone on to graduate school. Also, nine years after entering college, black students who came from low-income families had significantly lower incomes than black students who had come from higher-income households.