The Gender Gap in Degree Attainments Among African Americans

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education offers data on degrees earned during the 2016-17 academic year at Title IV institutions. Title IV educational institutions are those that have qualified to participate in federal financial aid programs for postsecondary education.

Last we JBHE reported that in the 2016-17 academic year, African Americans earned 349,040 degree awards from four-year Title IV institutions. They accounted for 10.2 percent of all degrees awarded that year.

There is a major gender gap in degree awards among African Americans. African American women earned 83,679 associate’s degrees during the 2016-17 academic year. This was 66.9 percent of all associate’s degrees earned by Blacks.

Blacks men did slightly better in bachelor’s degree awards. However, Black women earned 64.1 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to African Americans.

In master’s degree awards, Black women earned 58,054 degrees, compared to just 24,818 for Black men. Thus, Black women earned 70.1 percent of all master’s degrees awarded to African Americans.

Black women earned 68.4 percent of all research doctorates awarded to African Americans and 64.5 percent of all professional practice doctorate awarded to African Americans.

The full report, Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2017-18; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2016-17; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2016-17: First Look (Provisional Data), may be downloaded here.


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