Minoritized Students Well-Being

Well-Being for Students with Minoritized Identities

The American Council on Education in partnership with Wake Forest University recently released a report on minoritized students' well-being. Here is an excerpt from that report:


Higher Education Is Failing Students with Minoritized Identities 

Systemic inequities in higher education continue to perpetuate equity gaps for students with minoritized identities. This report focuses specifically on minoritized racial and ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation identities. While these identities do not represent all minoritized groups, the data presented in this report can serve as a starting point for understanding the unique needs of students with minoritized identities. 


RACE AND ETHNICITY Between 2000 and 2018, the proportion of undergraduate students who identified with minoritized racial and ethnic identities grew from 29.2 percent to 44.8 percent (NCES 2019). Despite this encouraging increase in enrollment, great differences emerge when examining completion rates across racial and ethnic groups, with higher shares of Asian and White students completing a college credential within six years of first enrolling than Black and Latino students. Among the cohort of students who first enrolled at a public four-year institution in 2014, 80 percent of Asian students and 73 percent of White students completed a credential within six years, compared with 59 percent of Latino and 50 percent of Black students. A similar pattern emerged among students who first enrolled at a public two-year institution, with 51 percent of Asian and 49 percent of White students completing within six years, compared with 36 percent of Latino and 28 percent of Black students (Causey et al. 2020). Projections show that the racial and ethnic diversity of students enrolling in higher education will continue (Hussar and Bailey 2020), making it more important than ever that the field pay attention to and work toward closing these racial equity gaps in postsecondary education. 


SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER Students with minoritized sexual orientation and gender identities face similar challenges to their academic outcomes. LGBTQ+ students must manage unsafe campus climates that detract from their mental health and other foundational well-being needs (Gortmaker and Brown 2006). Many LGBTQ+ students must negotiate differing sets of biases across academic and home environments (Duran 2019), complicating their efforts to maintain their well-being and focus on their academics. As a result of these many stressors, even though students who identify as LGBTQ+ are more cognitively engaged in academics than their cisgender and heterosexual peers, they are approximately 25 percent more likely to fail a class and nearly twice as likely to drop out of college (Greathouse et al. 2018). Closing equity gaps for LGBTQ+ students will require institutions to address the negative stressors that stem from campus environments. 


More Equitable Well-Being Supports May Yield More Equitable Academic Outcomes  

For the full report, please visit this page.