DataPoints: Enrollment by race/ethnicity


Between fall 2010 and 2020, the shares of public two-year college students who were Hispanic and Asian increased, while the shares of students who were White and Black declined, according to a College Board analysis.

Hispanic students comprised about 28% of community college students in 2020, up from about 19% in 2010. Hispanic students had seen a steady increase in the share of enrollment at all types of higher education institutions in the 10-year period studied. At public four-year institutions, their share of student enrollment jumped from 11% in 2010 to about 19% in 2020; at for-profits, it increased from just under 16% in 2010 to 21% over the same period.

In 2010, nearly 58% of public two-year students were White; by 2020 — during the height of the Covid pandemic — it dropped to below half (47%). The enrollment share of White students at all other types of higher education institutions saw similar big drops.

Black college students have seen share declines in most higher education sectors, with the largest decrease coming in community colleges. Black students’ share of enrollment at public two-year colleges dipped from about 15% in 2010 to just below 13% in 2020. At for-profit institutions, Black students’ proportion remained roughly at 28% over the 10-year period — more than double their enrollment share at community colleges in 2020.

The College Board noted that national population shifts are among the factors contributing to the changes. In 2020, Hispanic students accounted for an estimated 25% of all public high school graduates in the U.S., it said. Meanwhile, the share of high school graduates who are White declined from 60% in 2010 to 50% in 2020.

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About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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