Black Women Show Education Gains Increasing Numbers Are Earning Degrees

Article excerpt

Black women are graduating from college and graduate school in record numbers, outstripping the progress of white women and earning bachelor's and master's degrees at nearly twice the rate of black men, a new study reports.

Black men also posted increases in some areas of higher education but earned 10 percent fewer master's degrees and 20 percent fewer doctorates in 1994 than in 1977.

"African-Americans are recognizing more and more the importance of a college degree," said William H. Gray III, president of the College Fund, which commissioned a comprehensive report on blacks in higher education. "The trends are very positive, but there are also significant causes of concern." The 500-page report, released Wednesday, compiles data from a host of sources in an effort to provide a factual basis for future policy decisions, Gray said. "We're trying to change preconceptions, misconceptions, stereotypes and just plain ignorance," he said. Among the findings: Blacks make up 10.1 percent of students at American colleges and universities, up from 8.8 percent a decade ago, but still below the 14.3 percent they represent of the U.S. college-age population. Despite enrollment gains, blacks still earn a disproportionately small share of degrees at all levels from associate's to doctorates. But blacks made significant gains over the last two decades in the area of professional degrees. …