skip to main content
Education
Black College Grads Report Less Support in College
Education

Black College Grads Report Less Support in College

by Jessica Harlan and Stephanie Marken
Black College Grads Report Less Support in College

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Less than a quarter (21%) of black college graduates nationally strongly agree that their professors cared about them as a person, compared with 34% of white college graduates. While Hispanic college graduates (29%) are also less likely than white graduates to strongly agree with this statement, they are still more likely than are black graduates.

U.S. College Graduates' Perceptions Their Professors Cared About Them as a Person
On a scale of 1 to 5 in which 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree, please rate your level of agreement with the following statement. My professors at [University Name] cared about me as a person.
5 - Strongly agree 4 3 2 1 - Strongly disagree
% % % % %
All recent graduates 32 29 23 12 5
White graduates 34 29 21 12 4
Black graduates 21 23 38 13 6
Hispanic graduates 29 34 23 8 6
Gallup Alumni Survey, Oct 24-Nov 7, 2019

These results are based on interviews with more than 1,600 college graduates who completed their bachelor's degree between 2010-2019. Even when combining those who indicate moderate agreement with the statement (responding with a 4 or 5 on the agreement scale), significant racial gaps persist. Majorities of whites (63%) and Hispanics (63%) versus 44% of blacks agree that their undergraduate professors cared for them as a person.

Black graduates (16%) are also more likely than white graduates (10%) and Hispanic graduates (8%) to say that their university was not a good place for students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups. These data come amidst recent reports that black graduates doubt their alma mater would have appropriately handled a discrimination claim -- another critical measure of inclusion on college campuses nationally.

These data are similar to important insights released in 2017 research conducted by the Strada Education Network -- a social impact organization focused on reforming postsecondary education to serve vulnerable populations better. The research found currently enrolled black students were less likely than their peers to strongly agree they felt safe in their school.

U.S. College Students' Perceptions They Were Safe on Their College Campus
On a scale of 1 to 5 in which 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree, please rate your level of agreement with the following statement. I feel safe at [University name].
5 - Strongly agree 4 3 2 1 - Strongly disagree
% % % % %
All students 40 36 17 6 2
White students 44 35 15 5 2
Black students 32 35 23 7 3
Hispanic students 36 37 19 6 3
Strada-Gallup Student Survey, 2017

Black Grads Report Less Access to Academic Resources

Black students also experience significant challenges in accessing the academic resources necessary to be successful in their undergraduate experience. About half of white graduates report they had access to the resources they needed to be successful academically while completing their degree; however, just 36% of black graduates say the same.

U.S. Graduates' Perceptions They Had the Resources Needed to Be Successful While Completing Their Studies
On a scale of 1 to 5 in which 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree, please rate your level of agreement with the following statement. I had access to the resources I needed to be successful academically while completing my undergraduate degree at [University Name].
5 - Strongly agree 4 3 2 1 - Strongly disagree
% % % % %
All recent graduates 45 38 12 3 2
White graduates 46 37 12 3 1
Black graduates 36 36 20 6 2
Hispanic graduates 39 40 13 2 6
Gallup Alumni Survey, Oct 24-Nov 7, 2019

Black Grads Report Student Loans Restrict Job Opportunities

The challenges black students face extend beyond their student experience. National research shows that black graduates borrow at higher rates than their white peers to complete their four-year degrees. In addition to the obvious financial impact student loans have on graduates' long-term financial wellbeing, they have an important effect on graduates' quality of life and ability to work in a job they are passionate about. About a quarter (26%) of recent black graduates report that, because of their student loans, they are unable to work in a job they are truly passionate about, while only 14% of white and 16% of Hispanic graduates say the same.

U.S. College Graduates' Perceptions They Cannot Work in Job They Are Passionate About, Due to Student Loan Burden
On a scale of 1 to 5 in which 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree, please rate your level of agreement with the following statement. Because of my student loans, I cannot work in a job that I'm truly passionate about.
5 - Strongly agree 4 3 2 1 - Strongly disagree
% % % % %
All recent graduates 15 8 12 18 47
White graduates 14 8 13 18 48
Black graduates 26 3 13 20 38
Hispanic graduates 16 9 10 15 51
Gallup Alumni Survey, Oct 24-Nov 7, 2019

Implications

These data are released at a time of extreme tension in the U.S. as adults of all races/ethnicities report deep frustration, anger and disappointment over racial inequality. Unfortunately, these data remind us that this inequality exists within the financial, social and academic experiences black students have in college and that those experiences have lasting effects after graduation.

Higher education has the unique ability to address inequality directly and positively -- acting as an equalizer for students from all backgrounds, including those of different races/ethnicities. But that mission can only be realized if there is equality in students' actual college experiences. This past week, we heard from presidents of major universities who confirmed their commitment to students of all backgrounds. That leadership is critical at this moment, as is listening to students directly.

It is only through listening that leaders can understand, and it is only through understanding that leaders can improve the quality of the college experience for all students.

Learn more about the Gallup Alumni Survey.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/312548/black-college-grads-report-less-support-college.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030