NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 22, 2005

Although the American Council on Education reports that the number of minority students enrolled in college has more than doubled during the past decade, USA Today finds that there is a widening gender gap for African-American men.

  • Currently, 56 percent of black women graduate from high school, compared with 43 percent of black men, according to the Urban Institute.
  • From 2000 to 2001, the number of black women in college rose by 73,000 -- twice as much as black men, whose numbers in college only rose by 30,000.
  • From 2001 to 2002, the increase in the number of degrees -- associates, bachelor's or master's -- earned by black men was less than 3 percent.
  • In contrast, the number of black women earning associate's degrees rose by 6.5 percent, bachelor's by 4.3 percent and master's by 4.5 percent.

Education experts say that aside from social issues such as inappropriate role models and broken homes, young black males suffer from bad school experiences, most of which are failures on the part of schools to teach basic literary skills.

As for a solution to the widening gender gap, observers recommend creating school environments, from pre-school to high school, where the boys are as successful and ambitious as the girls. Colleges won't see more black men applying until a greater percentage finish high school with the ambition to continue their education.

Source: Editorial, "Black men fall behind," USA Today, February 16, 2005; and "Minorities in Higher Education Twenty-first Annual Status Report (2003-2004)," American Council on Education, February 14, 2005.

For Urban Institute:


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