The landscape of African American students in higher education has always been extremely dynamic, and our modern times are no exception. Weíve compiled some key statistics to paint a picture of the current state of affairs.
The Challenge: Getting Through College Successfully
As much progress as weíve made, there is still clear room for improvement when it comes to retaining and graduating all students of color at our nationís colleges and universities, but particularly among African Americans. Among black students enrolled in four-year public institutions, 45.9 percent complete their degrees in six years. This is the lowest rate compared to other races and ethnicities. African American men have the lowest completion rate at 40 percent. Thirty-three percent of white Americans 25 and older have at least a bachelorís degree, compared to 19 percent of black Americans.
Many of the hurdles these students face are financial in nature. Seventy-two percent of black students take on debt as they seek their degrees, as opposed to 56 percent of their white peers. And while the number of African Americans enrolled in college has increased significantly over the last couple of decades, going from 10 percent in 1976 to 14 percent in 2015, African American enrollment at the nationís most elite colleges (often toting the biggest price tags) has remained mostly the same.
UNCF-member institution Stillman College
The Solution: HBCUs
Some of the most heartening statistics come from our nationís HBCUs. Though HBCUs make up only three percent of the countryís colleges and universities, they enroll 10 percent of all African American students and produce almost 20 percent of all African American graduates. HBCUs actively work to address the financial obstacles black students face. On average, the cost of attendance at an HBCU is 28 percent less than attending a comparable non-HBCU. Forty percent of HBCU students report feeling financially secure during college, as opposed to 29 percent of black students at other schools.
These students have an advantage long past graduation. A whopping 25 percent of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs. Eight HBCUs were among the top 20 institutions to award the most science and engineering bachelorís degrees to black graduates from 2008-2012. An HBCU graduate can expect to earn an additional $927,000 in their lifetime, which is 56 percent more than they could expect to earn without their HBCU degrees or certificates. From start to finish, an HBCU education is a setup for success.
The Added Bonus: UNCF
UNCF believes in the proven difference that HBCUs make, which is why we work so passionately to help more students attend them. As the nationís largest private scholarship provider to minority group members, UNCF also awards more than $100 million in scholarships to more than 10,000 students at more than 1,100 schools across the country. In the last 75 years, UNCF has raised more than $4.8 billion to help nearly half a million students earn college degrees. And all this support shows amazing results. UNCF scholarship recipients have a 70 percent six-year graduation rate, as opposed to the previously mentioned 45.9 percent average for black students in general.
A UNCF scholarship can change a life. Unfortunately, however, we can still only help one in 10 students applying for financial assistance. Letís cut that gap. Donate to UNCF today!