National Institute on Aging

Report Analyzes the Status of Black Students at Public Colleges and Universities

The Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has issued a new report on the status of the 900,000 Black undergraduates enrolled at public colleges and universities across the United States. Private schools, Historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, military academies, university health and medical institutes, graduate universities, community colleges, and public institutions that primarily confer associate’s degrees were not included in the analysis.

The researchers report that 14.6 percent of 18-24 year-olds across the 50 states are Black, but only 9.8 percent of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduates at public colleges and universities are Black. At more than 75 percent of public institutions, Black students are under-enrolled relative to their respective populations in the states.

When it comes to gender, Black women make up just over 52 percent of all Black undergraduates at public institutions. The researchers also found that while 50.6 percent of total undergraduate students earn their bachelor’s degrees within six years, only 39.4 percent of Black students graduate within that time. Additionally, the report found that 44 percent of public campuses have 10 or fewer full-time Black faculty members across all ranks and disciplines. Forty campuses employ no-full time Black faculty at all.

The report included a breakdown of each state and each individual school’s equity rating according to the researchers. They analyzed each institution’s representation equity, gender equity, completion equity, and Black students-to-Black faculty ratio. The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the University of California-San Diego, and the University of Louisville were tied for the highest equity index score at 3.5 according to the researchers. Florida Polytechnic Institute had the lowest score at 0.33.

The top five states for the best statewide equity scores were:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Washington
  3. California
  4. Arizona
  5. Kentucky

The five states with the lowest equity scores were:

  1. Louisiana
  2. Nebraska
  3. North Dakota
  4. Mississippi
  5. Michigan


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