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Topping the Charts

It’s that time of year again, when we recognize the colleges and universities that graduate the most students of color at the undergraduate level. In 2001, we celebrated the fact that the number of African American students receiving bachelor’s degrees topped 100,000 for the first time. It is good to see that number continues to surpass previous years’ totals.

Florida A&M, Howard and Southern universities again occupy the top three slots for conferring the most bachelor’s degrees to African American students. Last year FAMU was No. 1, with Southern and Howard occupying slots 2 and 3 respectively. This year, Howard and Southern have changed places. And like last year, Tennessee State and North Carolina A&T State universities are ranked 4 and 5 respectively. As for the Traditionally White Institutions (TWIs) graduating the most African American students, Georgia State, Temple and Florida State universities rank in the top 3, whereas last year, Chicago State University occupied the No. 3 slot. There’s more data to be analyzed; however, I’ll let Dr. Victor Borden fill you in about the specific trends from this year’s data in his annual “Interpreting the Data” (see pg. 31).

In an effort to get more Black students, as well as other underrepresented students to complete high school and attend college academically prepared, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with several organizations, has committed $50 million to create “early college high schools.” This initiative, which aims to better prepare disadvantaged students for the rigor of college academics, allows students to graduate with not only a high school diploma, but also an associate’s degree and/or two years worth of college credit to put toward a four-year degree. SECME Inc., one of the organizations to receive funding from the Gates Foundation, will re-grant the money to a select group of historically Black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions in the Southeast region of the United States. Phaedra Brotherton reports on this innovative approach to transforming public education.

Staying in the Southern portion of the country, Kendra Hamilton reports on the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) analysis of ACT and SAT scores between 1998 and 2002. What they found is that although there has been an increase in the number of students taking the two standardized tests in SREB states, as well as an increase in some test scores, states have made no progress in closing the achievement gaps between Black and White students.

Kendra’s and Phaedra’s articles focus on college readiness, but senior writer Ronald Roach looks beyond the classroom to the job market. It has been well reported that this is one of the toughest job markets this country has experienced in years. What does this mean for recent college graduates? Ronald speaks with both students and college administrators about what students are doing and can do to be competitive in such a tight market.

And once you squeeze into this tight job market, hopefully discrimination suits will not be in your future. Should that be the case, however, law professors Alfred and Ruth Blumrosen, profiled by Ben Hammer, have published a study that they hope will provide new weapons to fight discrimination in the workplace.

Lastly, look for our July 3 Top 100 Graduate/Professional edition. Also be sure to visit our Web site as some charts will only appear online.





Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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