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University of Kentucky Lays Out Plan

University of Kentucky Lays Out Plan
To Rebuild Black Enrollment

More than a third of Black students who decided not to attend the University of Kentucky chose the University of Louisville instead last fall, says a UK official.

Of 209 students who turned down offers of admission last fall, 111 responded to a survey, and 41 of them enrolled at Louisville, says Terry Allen, UK’s associate vice president for institutional equity.

According to Allen, the survey did not reveal why the 41 students who went to Louisville decided to do so, but 48 percent of the 111 respondents cited “more money” as their reason for attending another school.

UK has added six admissions employees, increased scholarship money and recruited aggressively to boost Black enrollment, Allen recently told the Council on Postsecondary Education’s Committee on Equal Opportunities.

“We feel the immediate improvement will be greater numbers of African-American students this fall,” he says. “The long-term impact will be better recruitment and graduation rates.”

Rosalind Welch, president of the UK Black Student Union, says while she is grateful for the efforts, she isn’t sure they will help. “I think they’re making a solid effort,” she says. “We have to foster an environment here to make it a place where students want to come and stay.”

Dr. Garry Bibbs, an associate professor of art and a member of the UK diversity task force, says the school is not welcoming enough to Blacks.
“They still haven’t made enough effort to change the environment of the university in terms of treatment of the students as well as the faculty,” he says, noting that some university departments don’t place a priority on recruiting and retaining Black faculty.

Some faculty members and state lawmakers have questioned UK’s commitment to diversity after a dramatic drop in the number of Black freshmen this school year. The university accepted 360 for the 2005-2006 academic year, but only 151 enrolled, down from 256 in 2004-2005.

The school also plans to add $500,000 to its Parker Scholarship program to increase diversity on campus. UK spent $2.8 million on the scholarship this year and will spend $3.3 million next year, says Jay Blanton, a UK spokesman.

— Associated Press

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