The Persisting Racial Digital Divide Limits Blacks’ Opportunities for Higher Education

College-bound students with a computer and Internet access can use the vast resources of the Web to find the college that best suits their needs. They can access practice tests for the SAT or ACT college entrance admission examinations. They can seek out college scholarships through the great number of databases that are maintained online. They can apply to colleges on the Internet, saving themselves time and money. And perhaps most important, as the Internet is a huge online library at one’s fingertips, it can be used to enhance learning that will better prepare a student for the rigors of a college education.

Thus any racial disparity in the ownership of home computers or access to the Internet is extremely important. A new Census Bureau report shows that significant racial gaps remain in computer use and Internet access in the home. In 2007, 45 percent of all African Americans over the age of 15 reported that they used a computer at home. For non-Hispanic whites the figure was 65 percent. Only 34 percent of blacks over the age of 15 said they connected to the Internet at home compared to 56 percent of non-Hispanic whites.