Students of Color Are Shortchanged in Higher Education Spending

There is mounting evidence that students of color are shortchanged in their education. Research shows that the difference in the amount spent on students of color versus white students at two- and four-year public universities is more than $1,000 per student. This only serves to keep students of color oppressed and disadvantaged when it comes to the opportunities they may have in their education and their careers, and the cycle continues to the next generation of students. Here are a few of the key reasons why students of color receive significantly less financial support than their white counterparts:

  1. There are more students of color at schools with lower spending

There is a disproportionate number of students of color enrolled in two- and four-year universities with lower admissions standards. White students outnumber students of color at more selective four-year colleges, even in more diverse states. This is partially because students of color face the same disadvantages in elementary and high school – they don’t have access to high-quality educational resources, and more money is invested in their white counterparts. These factors make it difficult for students of color to compete when applying for college.

  1. Public colleges are spending less money to educate students of color

When students of color attend universities that receive less funding, less money is spent on their education than their white counterparts, even at the same schools. Additionally, students of color enrolled in schools where the overwhelming majority of students are white have a significant gap in the amount spent on their education. Specifically, there is a difference of more than $1,000 per student spent on white students than on black and Latinx students.

  1. Total amount spent on education is low

 The gap in spending between white and non-white students isn’t the only obstacle students of color face in terms of educational spending. A third problem is that even in states where there isn’t a significant spending gap between white students and students of color, overall spending on education is low. The state of Louisiana, for example, has a lower spending gap between races, but the overall dollar amount spent on education is significantly below the national average.

Spending gaps and overall spending on education matter when considering the future impact it will have on students. Studies show that a 10% increase in college spending can produce an additional 55 degrees from a four-year university. That’s 55 more students whose lives could be forever changed by obtaining a degree and becoming competitive in the professional world. This also creates more opportunities for their children and the next generation. Changes like these can have a lasting effect on students and the future of education. Studies like these show how closing the educational spending gap between white and non-white students and increasing overall spending can have a profound impact on equity in the educational system.

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