Beneath the Surface
The State of Higher Education in Tennessee
Despite recent progress in college enrollment and completion rates, Tennessee’s higher education system continues to face significant challenges, especially around equity gaps hindering minority, adult and low-income students from earning postsecondary credentials.
Complete Tennessee’s second annual State of Higher Education in Tennessee report, entitled Beneath the Surface, confirms declines in adult enrollment, troubling African American retention and employment rates, and falling graduation rates for low-income students.
Look at the numbers.
Adult Enrollment is Declining
Adult enrollment (ages 25-64) has dropped 25 percent from 2011-2015.
African American Students Experience Lower Retention Rates
Upward trends in student retention have included narrowing gaps in achievement for Hispanic students. However, disparities for African-American students continue to exist.
Low-Income Students Are Less Likely to Graduate
Graduation rates for low-income students (as measured by Pell grants) are consistently lower across Tennessee colleges except for the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs).
Source: IPEDS, 2016
African Americans in Tennessee are Underemployed at All Education Levels
African Americans in Tennessee are more likely to be unemployed than their peers at all levels of educational attainment.