Fact Sheet | September 21, 2023

Race and Economic Mobility (REM): College Value for Students of Color Across Sectors

Current assessments of college value fall short of centering race by not accounting for the unique economic conditions of students of color before, during, and after they leave college. Broader issues like structural racism cascade into inequities in college affordability but are often left out of national ranking systems and discussions on college value. TICAS’s REM metric offers a better gauge of potential economic outcomes to support its ongoing advocacy for equitable investments in both students of color and institutions serving the largest shares of racially marginalized students.  

Our latest analysis examines variation by sector at both two-year and four-year colleges. The analysis finds that for those who attended for-profit colleges, students earned less, borrowers owed more in student loans, and a lower share of completers had an earnings premium compared to their peers at public and private non-profit colleges. Across all sectors, borrowers who attended four-year colleges serving a higher share of students of color owed more on their student loans 10 years into repayment than borrowers at colleges with the smallest share of students of color. This gap was particularly alarming at for-profit and private non-profit colleges where the percentage of debt owed by borrowers from colleges with the highest share of students of color is nearly twice that of borrowers from colleges with the smallest share. At for-profit colleges serving the largest share of students of color, borrowers owed more in student loans than they originally borrowed.