More Than 1 in 5 Black College Students Feel Discriminated Against at School
Share this Article
- Black students in certificate/certification programs and at for-profit institutions are most likely to report being discriminated against.
- At the least diverse institutions, more than 1 in 4 Black students feel psychologically or physically unsafe.
- Thirty-six percent of Black students report having competing responsibilities as caregivers or full-time workers.
- To remain enrolled, Black students cite the need for greater flexibility, support, and financial aid.
Discrimination against Black students in higher education continues to persist despite many strides made over the last few decades.
A new report from Gallup in partnership with the Lumina Foundation reveals that 21% of Black college students report they frequently or occasionally feel discriminated against at their postsecondary institution.
Frequent or occasional feelings of discrimination were highest for Black students in certification or certificate programs, with nearly a third (32%) reporting they have been discriminated against.
Black students attending private, for-profit institutions were also significantly more likely to report frequent or occasional feelings of discrimination while on their campus.
In addition to experiencing discrimination, more than 1 in 4 Black students at institutions with low levels of diversity report feeling disrespected (26%), psychologically unsafe (27%), or physically unsafe (28%).
Even at the most diverse institutions, 17% of Black students still report feeling discriminated against or psychologically unsafe on their campus. Nineteen percent feel disrespected.
Outside of discrimination, Black students are significantly more likely than their peers to have additional responsibilities impacting their educational journey.
As of fall 2022, when the survey was conducted, more than 1 in 3 Black college students (36%) earning a bachelor's degree had additional responsibilities as caregivers or full-time workers compared to just 18% of other students.
For Black students earning an associate degree, nearly half (47%) had competing responsibilities when surveyed.
In order to remain enrolled in school, Black bachelor's students are significantly more likely than their peers to consider a variety of factors as very important to aiding their journey.
Fifty-nine percent of Black bachelor's students cited greater flexibility in their work or personal schedule as very important to remaining enrolled in their program, compared to just 37% of all other students — a difference of 22 percentage points.
Nearly three quarters of Black bachelor's students (72%) said financial aid was very important to remaining enrolled, compared to 58% of other students. And 47% of Black bachelor's students cited more remote learning as very important compared to 29% of all other students.
Black college students are already significantly more likely than their peers to drop out of school — they have the second-highest average dropout rate of any other racial/ethnic group at nearly 40%.
In order for these students to remain enrolled and attain their degree, colleges will need to address the safety of their environments for Black students and offer significant financial and mental health support.