Minority Students Admitted to New England Schools
Meet Same Standards as Others, Study Finds
New England colleges and universities are not lowering their standards to admit minorities, according to a study released last month. The report, commissioned by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, examines how New England schools practice affirmative admissions in order to achieve diverse campuses.
“Among the most compelling findings in the study is that schools are not lowering academic standards to admit students of color,” says Dr. Blenda J. Wilson, president and CEO of the Nellie Mae Foundation.
“I think there may be a misconception that affirmative admissions means that unqualified minority students are accepted over White students,” says Dr. Stephen P. Coelen, executive director of the Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research (MISER) and a principal investigator of the report. “That is not the case. We found that minority students attending four-year colleges and universities in New England are qualified and meet the same standards as all other students offered admission.” MISER, which is based at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, completed the study along with the Center for Education Policy (CEP).
The study also pointed to an increase in minority enrollment, Wilson says. “Significant investments in access made by New England colleges and universities have proven highly effective in growing minority undergraduate enrollment,” she says. “These efforts, combined with the increasing importance of a college degree and the overall growth of minority populations in the region, have fueled increases in minority student attendance.”
But, while the number of minorities at New England colleges and universities has increased, the study also found that minority students are still underrepresented at these institutions.
“Minorities comprise nearly 20 percent of New England’s 18- to 24-year-old population and that percentage is growing,” says Dr. Joseph B. Berger, associate director of CEP and MISER, and a principal investigator of the report. “However, students of color account for only slightly more than 10 percent of the undergraduate population at the region’s colleges and universities. We need to work with higher education, K-12 and government to enlarge the pool of qualified minority students.”
“Diversity Among Equals” is the first in a series of research studies conducted by CEP and MISER, and commissioned by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.
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