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The State of Higher Education for Latinx and Black Angelenos

The City of Los Angeles—a vibrant metropolis with a diverse and dynamic population—is a critical economic and cultural hub for the state of California. California’s economy is the fifth largest economy in the world, but maintaining this dominance depends, in large measure, on the economic success of Los Angeles and its surrounding regions. Los Angeles’ success will be determined by the success of its schools, colleges, and universities in supporting students to enroll in college, complete a bachelor’s degree, and join the workforce with the skills and preparation needed to participate in a 21st Century economy.

Ensuring equity in higher education access and success for Black and Latinx Californians requires building and maintaining robust pathways from LA’s high schools to its colleges and universities. That includes ensuring Latinx and Black Angelenos are supported to graduate from high school fully eligible to enroll in the state’s public four-year systems. LA’s leaders must also ensure that Black and Latinx high school graduates enroll in college—community college or a four-year university—and provide them with the support they need to earn a bachelor’s degree and fully participate in California’s economy.

Mirroring statewide trends that we noted in our 2021 reports, The State of Higher Education for Latinx Californians and The State of Higher Education for Black Californians, Black and Latinx students in Los Angeles do not receive the support or opportunity needed to ensure they enroll in college and earn bachelor’s degrees at the same rates as their white peers. And, though California’s high schools, community colleges, and public four-year universities have increased enrollment and support for Black and Latinx students who seek associate and bachelor’s degrees, the challenges associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic threaten to offset and undo years of improvements for California’s high schools and community colleges.

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