In May 2024, the American Council on Education (ACE)—the nation’s most visible and influential higher education association—in collaboration with the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International, released Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: 2024 Status Report, along with updates to the accompanying website. The 2024 report follows Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report, released in February 2019, and Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: 2020 Supplement, released in November 2020. These works were made possible through the generous support of the Mellon Foundation.

The racial and ethnic makeup of the United States has diversified substantially since the country’s founding, with dramatic changes occurring in just the past 20 years. Racial and ethnic diversity comes with a host of benefits at all levels of education and in the workforce—such as greater productivity, innovation, and cultural competency, to name a few. Moreover, the current and future health of our nation—economic and otherwise—requires that the whole of our population have equitable access to sources of opportunity. 

Chief among such sources of opportunity is higher education. It is therefore imperative that educators, policymakers, community leaders, members of the media, and others have access to timely data on one of the most salient predictors of higher education access and success in this country: race and ethnicity. To be clear, there are myriad factors that inform educational access and success, such as income, wealth, geography, and age. Yet it remains the case—as the data in this and other studies show—that race is a prevailing factor in many educational outcomes. These data 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 still matters in American higher education.

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View the 2024 press release >

View the 2019 press release >

The American Council on Education

ACE is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of nearly 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities. Our members educate two out of every three students in all accredited, degree-granting U.S. institutions. For more information, please visit 

The Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International

RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on them to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach—one that integrates expertise across the fields of social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development. Combining scientific rigor and technical proficiency, they deliver reliable data, thorough analysis, innovative methods, novel technologies, and sustainable programs that help clients inform public policy and ground practice in evidence.

The Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation makes grants primarily to support original research and education related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. The Foundation believes that these fields—and the scholars and practitioners who work in them—are chief drivers of the nation’s health and prosperity. The Foundation also believes that a reasoned, systematic understanding of the forces of nature and society, when applied inventively and wisely, can lead to a better world for all.