Report Finds Modest Increase in Minority Enrollment, Graduation Rates
The number of students of color enrolling and graduating from the nation’s colleges and universities continues to increase modestly, but the rate of increase is beginning to slow, according to the 2000-01 Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education, released earlier this month by the American Council on Education (ACE).
Made possible by a grant from the GE Fund, the report contains an ACE analysis of the latest education data from the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other sources.
According to the report, postsecondary enrollment of students of color rose by 3.2 percent between 1997 and 1998 (the last year for which data is available) — continuing a trend of modest increases that began in the early 1990s. However, the latest national statistics indicate a slowdown in the rate of enrollment by students of color. The latest number is slightly down from the 3.7 percent increase recorded between 1997 and 1996. The rate of increase in enrollment had climbed steadily over the previous three years, from 2.3 percent in the 1993-94 academic year to 2.9 percent in 1994-95, and to 3.2 percent in 1995-96.
The report also shows that students of color have experienced gains in academic degree attainment. In 1998, students of color experienced combined increases of 2.5 percent in the number of associate degrees they earned, 5.3 percent at the bachelor’s degree level, 8.8 percent at the master’s degree level, 4.4 percent at the doctoral level, and 5.8 percent at the first-professional degree.
Modest gains also were posted in graduation rates by the major ethnic minority groups, except African Americans, according to statistics from National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I colleges and universities. In 1998, the graduation rate for African Americans declined by three percentage points to 37 percent — their lowest rate since 1993. Meanwhile, the graduation rates for Hispanics rose by 3 percentage points to 48 percent, while the rate for both Asian Americans and American Indians increased by 1 percentage point, to 66 percent and 37 percent respectively.
“The good news is that students of color are continuing to make postsecondary progress in most areas,” says ACE President David Ward. “However, trends in this year’s report indicate a need for higher education officials to recommit to efforts aimed at helping students of color enroll in college and successfully complete their academic programs.”
The report contains statistics on enrollment rates, college participation and degree attainment. William B. Harvey, vice president and director of ACE’s Office of Minorities in Higher Education, is the author of this year’s report.
The Eighteenth Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education is available for $28.45 (includes shipping and handling), prepaid from the American Council on Education Publications Department, P.O. Box 191, Washington, D.C., 20055-0191. For additional ordering information or to pay by credit card, call (301) 604-9073.
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