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K-12 Advocacy

Though the high school graduation rate for public school students has increased in recent years, racial disparities still exist. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the national graduation rate reached an all-time high of 82% in school year 2013-14, with 73% of African American students graduating in four years. While graduation rate increases are good news, research shows that some students are not prepared for college upon graduation.

Cover image of the Parent Report, titled "Hear Us, Believe Us: Centering African American Parent Voices in K-12 Education

Hear Us, Believe Us: The 2024 K-12 Parent Report

African American parents are critical stakeholders in the education system. As such, this report illuminates the perspective of African American parents and caregivers on key issues in education, such as race, college readiness, Black teacher representation, parental engagement and more.

Read the full report here

UNCF, The Mind Trust and K-12 experts presented two virtual panel discussions about K-12 in Indianapolis on March 9. Watch the discussion on these topics: Imparting Wisdom in the Circle City: HBCU Lessons for K-12 Education and Improving Academic Outcomes: How HBCUs can Help Inform the Indy K-12 Education Community

In fact, only 6% of ACT-tested African American high school graduates met college readiness benchmarks in each of the four primary subjects: English, reading, math, and science, compared to 28% for all students in 2015. So even if they do defy the odds and make it to college, they will most likely have to take remedial courses. Taking these courses—which require college tuition but generally don’t come with college credit—makes it even harder for these students to stay in college. This is especially troubling since African American students are more likely than other racial groups to receive financial aid for college. That is definitely bad news for black students and their families. It’s also bad news for our communities and for our nation. But there is good news. Government officials have started paying attention to this educational crisis. In 2012, the White House issued an executive order that lays out an ambitious plan to improve African American educational outcomes and is inviting African American leaders to drive and participate in the effort. UNCF is doing its part as well. As the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, UNCF has always been committed to increasing the number of African American college graduates. Now, we have expanded our focus to include increasing the number of African Americans who are college-ready.  



Group shot of 4 female students talking and sitting outside on Bennett College campus

Elevating College Readiness

UNCF is influencing education change by increasing awareness of the college-readiness crisis. One way is via luncheons, such as one held in Indianapolis, which attracted more than 400 community members and leaders. Sponsored by UNCF and The Mind Trust, the luncheon featured Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO, and Dr. Roland Fryer, Jr., a Harvard University economics professor. The two men challenged Indianapolis residents to find new ways to work together to improve education. In Indianapolis and New Orleans, UNCF is increasing awareness of the African American college-readiness crisis and empowering local leaders to drive change in their communities.

Developing a Stronger College Pipeline

HBCU Resource Guide

UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI) has released a new report, The HBCU Resource Guide, designed to assist in learning more about historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This document provides information on scholarships, college- planning databases and key facts about HBCUs.

 Download the full report at 

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