Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Factual Friday, Good News Edition: Black Higher Ed Trivia for May 28, 2010

May 28th, 2010 by Ajuan Mance

graduate-baby

Statistics from the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE):

  • Percentage of African Americans over the age of 25 in 1940 who were high school graduates: 7.7%
  • Percentage of African Americans over the age of 25 in 2009 who were high school graduates: 84.2%

(U.S. Department of Education)

  • Percentage of African Americans over the age of 25 in 1940 who held a four-year college degree: 1.3%
  • Percentage of African Americans over the age of 25 in 2009 who held a four-year college degree: 19.4%

(U.S. Department of Education)

  • Number of African Americans enrolled in degree granting educational institutions in 1990: 1,247,000
  • Number of African Americans enrolled in degree granting educational institutions in 2008: 2,584,500

(U.S. Department of Education)

  • Black percentage of all students enrolled in degree granting educational institutions in 1990: 9.0%
  • Black percentage of all students enrolled in degree granting educational institutions in 2008: 13.5%

(U.S. Department of Education)

  • Percentage of whites who earned doctorates in 2008 who had a father who was a college graduate: 63.4%
  • Percentage of African Americans who earned doctorates in 2008 who had a father who was a college graduate: 33.4%

(National Science Foundation)

  • Percentage of white Americans who earned doctoral degrees in 2008 who had a mother who was a college graduate: 54.5%
  • Percentage of African Americans who earned doctoral degrees in 2008 who had a father who was a college graduate: 37.2%

(National Science Foundation)

I am especially heartened by the comparisons between the percentage of white earned doctorates whose parents graduated from college and Black earned doctorates whose parents graduated from college. These numbers indicate that family education history is not destiny for U.S. Blacks. Indeed, it never has been. Denied access to most colleges and universities until the rise of HBCUs during the Reconstruction era, Black college students at all levels are usually the first-generation in their families to enroll in degree programs. The challenge for post-secondary institutions of all types is to provide the necessary mentoring for Black student to succeed regardless of family background. Even in the absence of such support, Black students have somehow seen their way to achieving degrees from the A.A. to the Ph.D., and in steadily increasing numbers; and yet those numbers could be better, the graduation rates and G.P.A.s higher, and the years to degree shorter for African American students from all backgrounds. As colleges and universities become more effective at helping students of all classes and races reach their peak potential, we will likely see African Americans join the ranks of many other U.S. ethnic groups in making up a disproportionate number of U.S. college grads. I look forward to that day.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Share/Save/Bookmark

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.