Blacks Take Far Longer Than Whites to Earn Their Bachelor’s Degrees

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows racial differences in the amount of time it took bachelor’s degree recipients to receive their degree. The data for those who received their degree in the 2007-08 academic year, shows that the median amount of time for Black students to earn their degrees was 57 months. This means that half of Black students who earned a degree did so before 57 months and half did so after 57 months. For White students the median time was 51 months.

If we look at the average number of months rather than the median, we find the average amount of time for Blacks was 98 months compared to 73.3 months for Whites.

Some 47.5 percent of White students who earned a bachelor’s degree did do in four years or less. For Blacks, only 31 percent of degree earners received their degree in four years or less.

Nearly one quarter of all Black students who earned a bachelor’s degree in the 2007-08 academic year took more than 10 years to complete their degree program. For Whites, 10 percent of all bachelor’s degree recipients took more than 10 years to complete their degree.

Why do Blacks take longer than Whites to earn their degrees? In all probability, money plays a key role. In many cases, Black students must take time off to raise money for college or to fulfill family financial obligations.


Comments (5)

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  1. lynn says:

    It would be worth while to compare the number of developmental courses needed and the number of required classes that had to be repeated. Both senerios increase the time it takes to complete degree requirements.

  2. David Matthews says:

    What this says to me is that our public school systems are not preparing many black students for college level work. As a parent of two boys who is very involved in their education, I see the problem everyday. Tenure is a major problem when it comes to accountability. Guidance counselors are not always savvy and caring. I also notice that many, many elected officials send their kids to private schools. This problem will not be solved until parents become much, much more involved in their kids education and become very vocal about low standards in the public schools.

  3. Creole says:

    The problem is the high school students are not college ready. The research I found talks about 5 types of high school diplomas. The best is the college prep diploma or the International Baccalaureate which prepare black students to graduate college in 4 years. With a regular high school diploma a student might get placed in remedial classes, then if they make it to selective top tier universities the environment along with the cost of school effect graduation rates.

  4. Tom says:

    Well; it all depends on the condition of each children…. minority kids may be more likely to graduate in longer years because they may have to work while going to school…as opposed to whites who most of the time are wealthier and may not need to work and go to school full time… Also the other problem is the high you graduate from…. if you graduate from a very competitive school, the child will more likely be focused into his school… In this country the reason why blacks do poorly in every facet of life is due to RACISM… simple…. Highly educated blacks are not able to find a job …. folks with masters PHDs etc… cannot find work paying good salaries… major corporations are run by Whites sometimes so less qualified…. and they are not hiring promoting minorities …. consequently those minorities are not able to provide the best education to their kids to succeed in College. It is a cycle…. It is sad that this exists in the Obama age… educated minorities should get together and start successful businesses…. When i see a black man with a PHD in Finance who can not find a steady and top managerial position…. then society needs to wake up….

  5. Tminus says:

    I’d like to note, it’s a rather useless statistic to select the 4-year mark when someone is, arbitrarily, granted a “degree”. What’s more important is the data on (GPA) performance per year in college, to see if blacks peak younger than whites. If a black STEM major is maintaining a 4.0 at his junior year, but takes an additional 5 years to graduate, telling me that his white peer finished a liberal arts degree in 4 years, with a mediocre 3.0 GPA, does not do justice to the idea that finishing sooner, makes someone “smarter”. As the rarity of being a junior STEM major with a 4.0, well exceeds the rarity of being able to finish any conventional degree with a 3.0, on the conventional time period.

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