Here’s How Students of Color Fit Into Higher Ed’s Shifting Ecosystem

The U.S. higher education system is a vast and growing network, but whether it be for-profit schools or private universities, who goes where changes largely according to race.

By Julianne Hing Jul 17, 2012

Administrators and state officials are scrambling to rescue City College of San Francisco after word broke early this month that the school is on the brink of closure. The nine-campus network is the largest community college in California, but is teetering on the edge after years of financial mismanagement and organizational dysfunction, accreditors said.

John Rizzo, the president of CCSF’s board of trustees said the problem was rooted in something greater–disinvestment in public education. In the last four years the college has sustained $40 million state budget cuts, he told the Los Angeles Times. In recent years, CCSF, like many community colleges around the nation, have been forced to slash programs, raise tuition, and implement cost-cutting measure even as they enroll record numbers of students.

For students of color, this has indeed become the central tension affecting the higher education ecosystem; demand for affordable, accessible public higher education is increasing at the very same time that public investment in those very systems is on the wane. It’s has changed the face of the ecosystem of higher education in the U.S. Here now is a visual look at how exactly it’s shifted in just a handful of years, and where students of color find themselves today.