California's Gaps

February 25, 2005

The report's language is unambiguous: "At every step -- eligibility, admission, enrollment, and graduation -- Hispanic and black students fare worse than white and Asian students in the University of California System."

For the California State University system, Hispanic students are underrepresented. And while the state's community colleges do reflect the ethnic and racial mix of the state's high school graduates, Hispanic and black students are less likely to transfer to four-year institutions than are white students.

The data aren't a huge surprise to California educators. But the new report, by the Public Policy Institute of California, provides a good compilation of the available statistics, and links them to figures about high schools and economics in the state.

For example, data in the report from the California Postsecondary Education Commission show the racial and ethnic disparities among groups in the eligibility of new high school graduates for the University of California and California State University systems:

Group % Eligible for California State U. % Eligible for U. of California
American Indian 19.7 6.6
Hispanic 16.0 6.5
Black 18.6 6.2
White 34.3 16.2
Asian 47.5 31.4
All 28.8 14.4

The data show that the gaps in education attainment continue once students are enrolled in higher education, so that the groups most underrepresented in new enrollments lose some of their share by the time graduation comes along. (Note: Percentages do not add to 100 because some students do not identify their race or ethnicity.)

Group % of U. of Cal. Enrollees U. of Cal. Graduation % for Group
American Indian 1 66
Hispanic 14 70
Black 3 62
White 37 80
Filipino 5 76
Asian 33 80

At community colleges, the data show, white and Asian students are more likely than black and Hispanic students to transfer to four-year programs. (Note: Percentages do not add to 100 because some students do not identify their race or ethnicity.)

Group % of Community College Enrollees % of Transfers From Community Colleges
American Indian 1 1
Hispanic 33 20
Black 7 5
White 39 42
Filipino 4 3
Asian 10 14

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