Alarming Drop in Black High School Graduates Entering College

News of a serious development has been released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data reveals that 55.7 percent of the black students who completed high school in the spring of 2005 had enrolled in some form of higher education by October of that year. This is a serious decline from a year earlier. In 2004 the percentage of black high school graduates who went right on to college was 62.5 percent. Therefore, there was a nearly 7 percentage point decline in one year.

Whites, on the other hand, show a significant increase in college matriculations. In the same period, the percentage of white high school graduates who went on to college immediately after high school increased from 68.8 percent in 2004 to 73.2 percent in 2005. Therefore, the racial gap in high school graduates who enrolled in college right after high school increased from 6.3 percentage points in 2004 to a whopping 17.5 percentage points in 2005.

This is the largest racial gap since 1991. Whether this trend is a one-year statistical anomaly or a new trend bears close watching in the years ahead.