- New research from the Brookings Institute offers a glimpse into six social factors creating gaps in social mobility for African Americans, with secondary school quality, neighborhood poverty and college loan debt listed among the most persistent challenges.
- African American children with parents holding college degrees are likely to be enrolled in a secondary school which performs 28% poorer on state metrics than schools in which white students with similar families are likely to be enrolled.
- Student loan debt for African Americans nearly doubles that of white peers, with an average of $52,726 compared to $28,006.
These factors present a unique challenge for campuses seeking to increase diversity and improve performance for minority students once enrolled. Middle class African Americans, typically the most-frequently targeted minority student, are most likely to have the capacity to afford school and ancillary costs; but these data indicate that even they have vulnerabilities in college preparation and affordability.
It becomes clear that institutions must become more intentional about minority recruitment beyond tuition discounts and limited access. They must address cultural needs which can impact time to completion, disruption of education and ease of access over the course of students' careers.