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This week, the American Council on Education (ACE) released its Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: 2024 Status Report. The report highlights updated data that show significant disparities in attainment levels among underrepresented groups by race and ethnicity.

Black or African American students consistently had lower completion rates than those of any other racial and ethnic group.

Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native students earned a larger share of associate degrees and certificates, while bachelor’s degrees are mainly earned by Asian, White, and multiracial students.

“Despite some progress, racial disparities are still alarmingly high,” stated Ted Mitchell, the president of ACE. “This report is timely for everyone involved in higher education—administrators, researchers, and policymakers. It not only allows us to examine the current state of race and ethnicity in higher education but also calls for immediate action to bridge these equity gaps.”

The data also reveal disparities in how students pay for college, with Black or African American undergraduate students borrowing at the highest rates across all sectors and income groups (49.7 percent). Hispanic Latino, and Asian students borrowed at lower-than-average rates. However, Asian students borrowed the highest amount per borrower when including parent loans.

Additionally, the report looks at the diversity of faculty and staff across race and ethnicity. In 2021, 69.4 percent of all full-time faculty and 56.2 percent of newly hired full-time faculty were White, compared to Black or African American full-time faculty (6.1 percent) and new full-time faculty (9.3 percent).

“This report is just one of the ways ACE is working to democratize data by creating accessible and actionable insights that empower evidence-inspired decision-making across the postsecondary landscape,” said Hironao Okahana, assistant vice president and executive director of ACE’s Education Futures Lab. “This work bolsters our engagement in the data ecosystem, such as our partnership with the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies, to strengthen and lead the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI ) and the recently announced Global Data Consortium Initiative.”

This status report builds on the findings from preceding publications in the Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education series. It presents 201 indicators from eight data sources, most from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Census Bureau. The indicators show a snapshot of the most recent publicly available data, while others depict data over time. Click here to download the report.

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