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Minority College Enrollments Edge Higher

September 20, 2007

The number and proportion of minority students enrolled in American colleges both continued to grow in 2004, according to the American Council on Education's annual report on the status of minorities in higher education. But the group's data-filled study also showed that the rates at which black and Hispanic Americans enroll in college continues to lag their white peers significantly.

"Minorities in Higher Education 22nd Annual Status Report: 2007 Supplement," which the council released Wednesday, represents a slight change in practice by higher education's umbrella group. Citing the relatively small change that occurs from year to year in most of its indicators, the group decided that rather than release a full-blown report every year, it will switch to a biennial schedule, publishing a supplement updating heavily used tables in the odd years, with this year's being the first. The next full version of the report, the 23rd Annual Status Report, will come out in 2008.

The changes in data may rarely be monumental, but they are still notable, and closely watched. The table below shows that the numbers of college-enrolled students from all minority groups continued to grow faster between 2003 and 2004 than did the number of white students at the undergraduate and graduate levels (though not in professional schools):

Higher Education Enrollments by Race, 2003 and 2004

  2003 2004 % Change
Undergraduate      
Total 14,473,884 14,780,630 2.1
White 9,086,030 9,162,653 0.8
African American 1,743,859 1,808,724 3.7
Hispanic 1,480,534 1,553,201 4.9
Asian American 850,968 872,535 2.5
American Indian 149,405 151,829 1.6
Foreign 312,506 313,392 0.3
Race/ethnicity unknown 850,582 918,296 8.0
Graduate      
Total 2,097,511 2,156,885 2.8
White 1,232,868 1,255,857 1.9
African American 184,563 197,482 7.0
Hispanic 106,338 111,062 4.4
Asian American 97,677 100,815 3.2
American Indian 11,393 12,110 6.3
Foreign 270,352 268,034 -0.9
Race/ethnicity unknown 194,320 211,525 8.9
Professional      
Total 329,076 334,529 1.7
White 220,024 223,012 1.4
African American 24,300 24,336 0.1
Hispanic 15,612 15,661 0.3
Asian American 38,388 39,661 3.3
American Indian 2,199 2,289 4.1
Foreign 8,330 8,181 -1.8
Race/ethnicity unknown 20,223 21,389 5.8

But the proportions of all black and Hispanic Americans who were enrolled in college in 2004-5 lagged significantly behind the comparable proportion of white Americans, as seen in the table below:

Proportion of 18- to 24-Year-Old High-School Graduates Enrolled in College, By Race

  1995 2000 2005
All races 42.4% 43.3% 46.0%
White 44.0 44.2 48.7
African American 35.6 39.4 41.0
Hispanic 35.3 36.5 37.6

The council's report includes breakdowns on minority enrollments by type and control of institution and by gender and race, and data on degrees conferred to different racial groups at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, among other statistics.

 

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