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Report Finds Black College Achievement in California Stagnant and Worsening

state of blacks in higher ed 234x300 Report Finds Black College Achievement in California Stagnant and WorseningThe Campaign for College Opportunity (CCO) released the second in a new series of research reports, The State of Blacks in Higher Education in California: The Persistent Opportunity Gap detailing the lack of significant progress in Black higher education, the need for the state’s higher education system to work better for all students and the recommendations to address this gap.

The achievement gap between Blacks and Whites in California earning a bachelor’s degree or higher has only narrowed by one percentage point in the past decade. An 18.7-point baccalaureate attainment gap separated Blacks from Whites in 2000, and in 2011, there was a 17.7-point gap.

The state of educational attainment for Blacks in California raises questions about the way our higher education system is organized and whether it equally serves all groups. In fact, the report finds that young Blacks are less educated than previous generations.

Since 1994, when affirmative action in California was eliminated, Black admission rates to the University of California (UC) system dropped 17 points, from 75 percent to 58 percent in 2010. And, in the last decade, Black enrollment at the UC and California State University (CSU) systems has remained virtually unchanged. This report underscores the tremendous impact the elimination of affirmative action has had on Black students. Today, Black students experience the lowest admit rates to the UC of any racial/ethnic group.

Additionally, first time Black freshmen and transfer students have the lowest completion rates at all three higher education systems in California — the CSU, UC and California Community Colleges.

“The report reveals a troubling pattern,” said Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity, the organization that produced the study. “Instead of trending up, Black success in higher education remains flat and in some cases, it’s trending downward. But with the right policies and funding levels, we could see Black achievement respond positively.”

Compared to other racial/ethnic groups, Blacks have the second-lowest rate of degree completion with less than one-third earning an associate degree or higher. At the same time, they are the group most likely to attend college without earning any degree.

“A disproportionate number of Black college students are not completing a certificate or college degree. We have a system that promotes college access, but doesn’t equally promote success and completion,” said Siqueiros.

The Black population in California is the fifth largest population of Blacks in the United States. Similar to the gap in Latino achievement, the trend has implications for the California workforce and development of the state’s economy as California will face a shortage of 2.3 million college graduates by 2025.

For the complete The State of Blacks in Higher Education in California: The Persistent Opportunity Gap report,visit http://www.collegecampaign.org/resource-library/our-publications/.

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