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America’s current racial reckoning has not exempted higher education from scrutiny. Education experts, advocates for students of color, Black college administrators and faculty members, and Black students themselves are increasingly questioning whether the country’s colleges and universities have fallen short in their stated mission of increasing equity at their institutions.

Inside Higher Ed is attempting to contribute to this discussion with a series of articles focused on the Black experience in higher education. After months of exploration by our reporters, we have published the first of this new series of articles, which is about barriers Black students face before they enroll in college.

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Over the next week, we will publish seven additional articles that attempt to give a broad view of systemic racism in higher education and its impact on Black students, faculty and employees. The pieces go beyond just describing well-established and intractable problems by exploring their root causes and asking how higher education can do better. Future articles will focus on faculty diversity, admissions, Black campus workers, curriculum and academic life, government funding and policies, and campus culture and leadership.

However, the series certainly is not comprehensive and does not attempt to be. For example, it focuses more on majority-white institutions than on historically Black colleges and universities that experts agree tend to do a better job of holistically serving Black students.

Our reporters interviewed a wide range of experts and sources for this series, ensuring that they spoke with many who have not previously been cited by Inside Higher Ed. Still, readers should understand that this series is part of an ongoing and crucial national conversation that we are chronicling and contextualizing in real time -- it is by no means our final say on these important issues.

We welcome your thoughts on what we found, what we missed and what other aspects of educational equity we should explore going forward. Please contact us at

-- The editors of Inside Higher Ed

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