Welcome! Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education provides a data-informed foundation for those working to close persistent equity gaps by providing a glimpse into the educational pathways of today’s college students and the educators who serve them.

Explore the Report's Findings

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 >

Featured Content

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.

Featured Data

How students paid for higher education varied considerably by race and ethnicity, especially in terms of who borrows and who leaves college with higher levels of student loan debt.

While the majority of undergraduate students applied for financial aid, patterns of borrowing varied greatly by race and ethnicity, with Black students graduating with the highest debt burden of any group across all degree levels. Black bachelor’s degree recipients left college with higher average debt than students from any other racial and ethnic group. Hispanic students graduated with lower than average levels of debt. The same pattern held for associate degree recipients. Among graduate degree recipients, roughly 8 in 10 Black master’s degree recipients and Black doctoral degree recipients had borrowed, the highest borrowing rate of any group. Across all racial and ethnic groups, borrowing rates were highest among professional degree recipients.


average debt among all

bachelor’s degree recipients


average debt among

Black bachelor’s degree recipients

View the Data Sources

This report utilizes data from 11 principal sources, including the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, and non-federal organizations.

Learn More About the Report

This report examines over 200 indicators, looking at who gains access to a host of educational environments and experiences, and how trajectories differ, by race and ethnicity.

ACE Unveils 'Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report'

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.