Students of Color

Students of Color

Policies, practices, and beliefs—rooted in history and still affecting people today—keep many Black, Hispanic, Latino, and Native American people from the education and skills they need.

Creating a just society

No matter where you come from, what you look like, or how much money your family has, everyone should have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. But opportunity is not equal in the United States. Real opportunity depends on who you are and where you come from. Together, we can remove barriers for students to right these wrongs and realize just and fair outcomes for all.

We must ensure educational attainment can no longer be predicted by a person’s race or ethnicity. Sadly, the American promise has always sharply contrasted with the nation’s legacy of discrimination and oppression. Individuals and society benefit when everyone can reach their potential.

Students today are more racially and ethnically diverse. They are more likely to be adults, to work full time, or to experience poverty, a lack of stable housing, and food insecurity. Many are the first in their families to go to college.

Serving students of color

Within the public sector, many Black students attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which were founded to serve African American students when they were prohibited from attending predominately white colleges. HBCUs comprise 3 percent of all U.S. colleges and universities, but they enroll nearly 10 percent of Black undergraduates.

Hispanic and Latino students attend various higher education institutions, with majorities attending public colleges and universities.  HSIs represent 16% of all higher education institutions, yet serve 65% of all Hispanic students. In 2021, 27.8 percent of Hispanics and Latinos between ages 25 and 64 in the United States—or, 32.6 million people—had earned an associate degree or higher compared to 45.7 percent of the total working-age population.

Native American and American Indian students often attend Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) located on or near reservations. According to fall 2010 enrollment data, 8.7 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) college students attended one of the 32 accredited TCUs. By 2021, 25.4 percent of Native Americans between ages 25 and 64 in the United States—or, 1 million people—had earned an associate degree or higher compared to 45.7 percent of the total working-age population.

More on Students of Color

One-quarter of Hispanic students face discrimination, leading many to consider leaving college

More Hispanic students are seeking educational opportunities after high school, with a notable upswing over the past decade in the percentage of Hispanics earning degrees. But the pandemic brought unfortunate setbacks to Hispanic enrollment, and a new study also reveals other alarming hurdles many Hispanic students face on their educational journeys.

Community colleges in six states join national effort to support adult students of color

Education and training after high school, long known to be a vehicle for economic mobility, will play a pivotal role in our recovery, but only if that promise is just as true for communities of color. Systematically, however, that has not been the case for Black, Hispanic, Latino, and Native American adult students. Some renewed commitments and opportunities at community colleges may help change that.
Students of Color

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