State Universities Enrolling Fewer Black Students
Amid budget cuts and attacks on affirmative action, elite public colleges are enrolling fewer Black students than they were a generation ago. The percent of selective colleges that reported considering race in admissions dropped from 60% in 1994 to 35% in 2014, according to a study by researchers at the University of Toronto and Brown University. In another report, Mark Huelson took a look at the enrollment of Black students across 67 selective public institutions -- including UCLA, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and William & Mary -- across the past 20 years. He found that nearly half of these schools are enrolling a lower percentage of Black students than they were in the mid-1990s. Nationally, one in six college-age people are Black, but there is only one African American among every 20 students at large, elite public schools. These decreases are happening as Black high-school graduation rates have increased across the country, dramatically in many states, creating a far more diverse pool of students. In 2016, the University of Virginia’s student body was 6.5% Black, down from 10.2% in 1996, and despite Black students making up 23.6% of Virginia’s high-school graduating class. In Mississippi, over half of all high-school graduates are Black, but Blacks comprise only 13% of undergrads at the University of Mississippi. Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois all have double-digit differences in the number of Black high-school graduates in their states and the percentage of Black students enrolled in state flagship campuses. As state funding has stagnated or declined on a per-student basis, colleges are under immense pressure to extract more revenue from other sources, including students themselves. The result can be greater recruitment of out-of-state, international students, or wealthy in-state students who do not require need-based financial aid. This reduces the number of spots for poor or middle-class students of color. Read the full report here.