Number of Blacks Earning Bachelor’s Degrees Reaches an All-Time High

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the year 2006 blacks earned 142,420 four-year bachelor’s degrees from American colleges and universities. The number of blacks earning bachelor’s degrees was up more than 4 percent from the previous year, 2005. In 2006 the number of African Americans earning bachelor’s degrees was the highest in this nation’s history. The figure was more than double the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by blacks in 1990.

Blacks are now nearly 12 percent of total enrollments in higher education, but in the 2006 academic year they earned only 9.6 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded. But note that this figure also measures considerable progress. As recently as 1985, blacks, who were then about 11.5 percent of the population, earned only 5.9 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States.