Indiana University’s fall freshman class is the biggest ever, topping a record set four years ago, yet the number of Black students in the class has fallen nearly 20 percent since last year, school officials say.
IU announced last Thursday that despite a record class of 7,259 freshmen, including more minority students overall, the number of Black students fell from last fall’s class record of 412 to 345 — a 19.4 percent decline.
The drop comes despite IU’s plans to boost minority enrollment, particularly for Blacks and Hispanics.
“Last year, we had a big increase in the number of African-American students enrolled. We were unable to sustain that,” says IU spokesman Larry B. MacIntyre.
Earlier this year, IU trustees called for doubling the number of students from under-represented groups, primarily Blacks and Hispanics, by 2014. At the same time, the school has toughened admissions requirements.
MacIntyre says that despite the decline, the number of Blacks in this fall’s freshman class is the campus’ third-largest. He says IU is trying to recruit Black students by targeting inner-city high schoolers in Gary and Indianapolis.
“Our goal is to find students who might think they can’t go to IU, who don’t think they have the money or don’t think they can meet the admissions standards and get them earlier prepared for IU,” he says.
IU’s overall fall enrollment is 38,247, including the 7,259 incoming freshman. That compares with 2002’s previous record of 7,080, and last year’s 6,949 students.
Total Black student enrollment is virtually unchanged since last year. This fall, the Bloomington campus has 1,669 Black students, compared with 1,671 last year at the same time.
While the number of Blacks in the freshman class is down, enrollment for other minority groups is up. Asian American enrollment rose from 237 students last fall to 277, Hispanic enrollment increased from 146 students to 166, and American Indian enrollment rose from 19 to 23.
“Across the board, we are reaching out to a large number of minority students,” MacIntyre says.
Last month, Purdue University announced that it also had a record freshman class, although the West Lafayette campus saw a 10.6 percent increase in incoming Black students.
The number of Blacks in Purdue’s freshman class rose from 264 last year to 292 this fall. Overall minority freshman enrollment grew 14.6 percent, from 923 last year to 1,058 this fall.
Purdue’s overall fall enrollment was 39,228, compared with 38,712 a year ago.
— Associated Press
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