Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2016

By Betsy Prueter

A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics examines the educational progress of a range of demographic groups in the U.S. including White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaskan Native students. Despite some modest gains in college going behavior among these groups, the rate of progress varies significantly between them in terms of academic success and college completion.

Among the report’s primary findings:

  • Overall, college enrollment grew the most for Hispanic and Black students. Hispanic student enrollment increased 11 percentage points (from 6% of the total undergrad population to 17%). Black student enrollment increased 5 percentage points (from 10% of the total undergrad population to 15%) from 1990 and 2013.
    • However, enrollment for both of these sub groups was lower than enrollment for White students. In 2013, 42% of White 18-24 year olds enrolled in college while only 34% of Black and Hispanic 18-24 year olds enrolled.
    • From 2003 to 2013, the gap between White student enrollment and Hispanic student enrollment narrowed (from 18% to 8%) while the gap between White students and Black students did not change measurably.
  • The majority of all undergraduate students attend public institutions, and this trend is amplified among minority communities.
    • Among undergrads in 2013, 83% of Hispanic students, 81% of Asian students and 79% of American Indian/Alaska Native students attended public institutions.
      • 76% of White students attended public institutions, 70% of Black students and 68% of Pacific Islander students.
    • All demographic sub groups in this study received financial aid, both in the forms of grants and loans.
      • 85% of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students and 80% of Hispanic students received grants in 2011-12. 69% of white students, 67% of Pacific Islander and 63% of Asian students received grants in the same time period.
      • 72% of Black students, 62% of American Indian/Alaska Native, 56% of White, 51% of Hispanic, 51% of Pacific Islander students and 38% of Asian students took out loans to help pay for college.
    • The overall graduation rate was 59% for first time, full time undergrads who began their pursuit of a four-year degree in 2007.
      • The completion rate was highest for Asian students (71%) and lowest for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students (41% each).
      • At two-year institutions, the graduation rate was again highest for Asian students (28%) and again lowest for Black students (11%).