This report examines data across 11 chapters that provide a foundation from which the higher education community and its many stakeholders can draw insights, raise new questions, and make the case for why race and ethnicity still matter in American higher education. Download the Report >
Essays Illuminate Complexities around Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education
The data presented in Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report provides a comprehensive review of race and ethnicity in higher education. The report also includes four invited scholarly essays which explore key issues in higher education beyond what the data alone can show. In their essay, Walter Allen, Chantal Jones, and Channel McLewis provide insight into the problematic nature of racial and ethnic categories in higher education. Cecilia Rios-Aguilar and Regina Deil-Amen examine the role of community colleges in serving students of color. Sandy Baum unpacks the unique circumstances of student debt for African Americans. Kimberly Griffin explores the efforts that institutions can undertake to affect faculty diversity. Building upon the data presented in this report, these essays give further insight into race and ethnicity in higher education.
Graduate credential completion by students of color increased over the last 20 years. Differences in where students complete their credentials and what they study have great implications for them and their families, as well as for the production of knowledge for an increasingly diverse citizenry.
The total number of graduate credentials earned rose sharply between 1996 and 2016, growing from about 527,000 to over 1 million. Over half of all international, American Indian or Alaska Native, and White students earned their graduate credentials at a public four-year institution. A greater proportion of Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and Black students earned their graduate credentials at for-profit institutions than any other group. While the vast majority of graduate students in 2016 earned master’s degrees rather than other forms of credentials, variation emerged across student groups. Almost half of all international students who earned master’s degrees in 2016 studied STEM fields. Asian master’s degree recipients were also more likely than students in other groups to have completed in STEM fields; however, international students were more than twice as likely as Asian students to do so.
of master’s degrees were
earned by students of color
percent of doctoral degrees
were earned by students of color
Lorelle Espinosa, ACE vice president of research, and Jonathan Turk, ACE associate director of research, explain why ACE’s report on the state of race and ethnicity in higher education today is critical for those working to close persistent equity gaps – and make the case for why race still matters in American higher education.