Graduate completions nearly doubled between 2001 and 2021 as students responded to changing job requirements and large earnings advantages available to those with advanced degrees. Advanced degrees are associated with the enhancement of certain skills, depending on the field of study, as well as lower unemployment rates. However, disparities remain even as students of color comprise growing shares of graduate completers. Moreover, apart from Asian students, domestic students of color remain both overrepresented in the for-profit sector and underrepresented among STEM completers at all degree levels, limiting their access to lucrative career opportunities in rapidly expanding fields.

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Graduate Completions by Award Level

In 2021, over 1.1 million students earned a graduate degree or certificate. Of all those recipients, 50.6 percent were White students and 29.9 percent were students of color.[1]

[1] The group students of color includes American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and multiracial students.