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California has long been a destination of opportunity—and challenge—for Black Californians. Known for its innovation and economic prosperity, California’s higher education institutions play a critical role for social and economic mobility for Black residents. In The State of Higher Education for Black Californians, published in February 2021, we found that Black students in California have made substantial gains worth celebrating. These gains include, significant increases in access to college-level coursework in high schools, rising numbers of Black students taking and passing transfer-level coursework in their first year at a community college, and major growth in associate and bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black Californians. While a growing number of Black Californians have a college education, however, stark gaps continue to persist. For example, 36 percent of Black men ages 25-64 have a college degree compared to 56 percent of white men. Forty-one percent of Black women have a college degree compared to 59 percent of white women, a gap of 18 percentage points. In addition, a third of all Black men and women have some college but no degree. Both the earlier report and this one find troubling gaps in access to opportunity and success in higher education for Black students with disturbing and pronounced inequities by gender.

In this report, we share additional findings by gender exploring the graduation rates among California’s Black men and women in the California Community Colleges (CCC), the California State University (CSU), and the University of California (UC). Read more