State of Higher Education for Black Californians (2019)

California is home to the fifth-largest Black population in the nation, with 2.16 million Black residents. The state has long benefited from significant contributions by Black Californians who have made the state more equitable, prosperous, entrepreneurial, and democratic. The success of a highly educated Black populace equals success for California.

This report from the Campaign for College Opportunity reviews data on preparation, enrollment, and success in college for Black Californians. College Futures Foundation provided a grant to support this report.

The Campaign finds that more Black high school students are graduating from high school, more are prepared for college, and many more are applying and enrolling in college than in years past. Yet despite these gains, two-thirds of Black high school graduates are still not eligible to apply to the University of California or the California State University systems because their high schools did not provide them with the opportunity to access and complete college preparatory courses. And the gap in Bachelor’s degree attainment between Black and White adults persists.

Addressing persistent and growing problems throughout the educational pipeline is essential to advancing Black educational success and achieving true educational opportunity and equity for all.

State of Higher Education for Black Californians lays out a number of recommendation for state and higher ed leaders:

  • California should set a specific statewide college attainment goal for Black students with the intention of closing persistent college preparation, access, and completion gaps.
  • State leaders must require strong implementation of community college reforms that focus on improving placement of students into college-level English and math and ensure strong transfer and degree pathways for students to earn Bachelor’s degrees.
  • Campus leaders must create a welcoming environment on campus that provides Black students with a strong sense of belonging. An important step is to increase the proportion of Black faculty and staff who reflect the experiences of students and recognize their assets and strengths.

Read the full report for a closer look at the data on college success for Black students and what it means for California’s future.