Over the past decade and a half, the number and proportion of college students opting not to reveal their race when asked have shot up, to 5.9 percent of all students in 2001 from 3.2 percent a decade earlier. The increases have raised two major questions: Who are these students, and why are they declining to identify themselves? The answers have implications for college officials and policy makers on a wide range of issues, including affirmative action and student life.
President Bush is expected to tell dozens of college and university presidents tomorrow of an administration plan to spend hundreds of millions of additional dollars on training in foreign languages deemed critical to the United States. Arabic, other Middle Eastern languages, and Chinese are expected to be a focus -- potentially providing for a significant expansion of study by American students, who are notoriously monolingual.