Enrollment Up, Retention Rates Down for Minorities in Connecticut Colleges
Connecticut’s colleges are enrolling Black and Hispanic students at record rates, but fail to keep many of them in the classroom, say state education officials.
Minority students also are concentrated at lower-level programs such as two-year colleges, the Department of Higher Education said in an annual report released in February.
The state further reports a 17-year trend in which minority students have more than doubled their proportions in higher education, from 8 percent to 18 percent of all students in the fall of 2000.
Hispanics comprised the fastest growing group, tripling in number since 1984, according to the report on racial composition at Connecticut’s public and private colleges and universities. The minority population on college campuses is nearing the 21 percent mark of the minority population in the state.
“I think the state should be proud of that level of accomplishment,” says Arthur Poole, head of the Department of Higher Education’s Office of Educational Opportunity.
Still, Poole says graduation rates lag. At the University of Connecticut, for example, 51 percent of minority freshmen obtain degrees within six years of enrolling, compared with a 61 percent overall six-year graduation rate, the report said.
“Clearly, entering college and completing college are two different matters,” the report said.
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