Talent Dividend News

The consequences of racial, economic inequality at community colleges

A pair of new reports, coupled with a policy brief from the Century Foundation, demonstrates the challenges facing community colleges across the nation -- and illuminates some paths to success.

Just 12 percent of students who start coursework at community colleges go on to earn a degree or transfer their credits to a four-year institution. 

Could that alarming percentage be related to the staggering racial inequality that persists at community colleges? Only a quarter of community colleges could be considered racially integrated, according to one of the two reports. The second report examines what this segregation means for college success and completion.  

Reports Paul Fain for Inside Higher Ed:

The study found that colleges serving larger portions of black, Latino and Native American students generally scored worse on measures of student success, like transfer rates to four-year institutions or the numbers of degrees and certificates students earned.

For example, California community colleges with the smallest percentage of students from those minority groups – ranging from 12 to 22 percent of total enrollments – had six-year completion and transfer rates of 57 percent. But those "success" rates were 45 percent at colleges with the largest shares of underrepresented students (49 to 91 percent).

What will it take to reverse this alarming trend? College with student bodies comprised largely of minorities tend to be under-resourced, but the solution is more complex than simply increasing the resources available to these schools. Instead, the Century Foundation recommends a revision of federal funding criteria that creates more accountability. 
Read the full story here.
Signup for Email Alerts
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts