Black College Enrollment Takes a Dip

A New Lecture: “Anti-Black Discrimination in the Age of Obama” by Dr. Algernon Austin

The simplistic idea that impoverished African Americans have only themselves to blame for their poverty, due to their poor cultural values—a notion advanced by many, including black public figures such as Bill Cosby—is believable only if a blind eye is turned to those inconvenient things social scientists like to call “facts.” Algernon Austin soundly refutes the “culture of poverty” argument by paying careful attention to marco-economic data about long-term poverty trends and sociological case studies about persistent discrimination. In other words, unlike the glib punditry, Austin actually looks at the “facts.”
--Dr. Andrew Hartman, professor and audience member, Illinois State University

Contact Dr. Austin to arrange a speaking engagement.

"The share of 18- to 24-year-olds attending college in the United States hit an all-time high in October 2008," reported the Pew Research Center. This rise was "driven by a recession-era surge in enrollments at community colleges." This rise was also largely confined to white students.

Many white students, faced with the terrible job market of the Great Recession, appear to be heading off to college. Community colleges are receiving the biggest boost in enrollment by white students probably because community colleges are much more affordable than four-year colleges.

We don't see this trend among black or Hispanic students. The figure above shows that black youth have had the largest decline in college enrollment. This is in contrast to the fairly steady rise in black college enrollment since 1967. (See the black-triangle trend line in the figure below.) The downturn this year may be due to the fact that blacks have been hit first and worst by economic crisis.

Whites, on average, have higher incomes, much more wealth, lower foreclosure rates, and lower unemployment rates than blacks. The average cost of community college, at $6,750 per year, may be affordable for many whites, but it may well be beyond to reach of many blacks during this recession. Without a swift and strong economic recovery, we can expect to see black-white educational disparities increase.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.

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