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Follow the Money: California Systemically Underinvests in Black Degree Attainment

Each year, the state of California spends billions of dollars on funding for the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC). Those dollars are invested to ensure all California residents have an opportunity to gain the skills and education they need to participate in and advance the state’s workforce and economy. Except, higher education investment does not fall equitably across racial/ethnic groups. In fact, when you follow the money, Black students are systematically underinvested in by the state when it comes to higher education funding, perpetuating economic inequity for Black Californians and the maintenance of a permanent underclass.

Systematic underinvestment in Black degree attainment did not happen by accident. Underinvestment and a lack of support for Black students to both pursue and graduate with a college degree has been reinforced by a fundamentally discriminatory funding model and higher education structure that disadvantages Black Californians. It is time for our state leaders to take responsibility for this racist funding structure and take urgent action to equitize funding so that Black students can thrive and have the same opportunities afforded to other Californians.

This brief measures the disparate student funding by race and ethnicity in California with the goal of addressing structural inequities that result in a system of higher education that spends less on its African-American/Black and Latinx students than their White peers.