Greater Diversity Eludes Most Local Colleges

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, March 19, 2012

Learning about the University of Rochester from one of its admission officials, who visited her New York City high school, helped convince Melika Butcher that UR was where she wanted to go.

“I just had a really good vibe about the school,” said Butcher, 21, now president of UR’s Black Students’ Union.

But the number of African-Americans enrolled at UR, while edging upward, is still small by any measure of this college, which draws students from every state.

African-Americans account for 13 percent of the nation’s population but just 4 percent of UR’s total student enrollment last school year. Hispanics — the fastest growing segment of the population — account for 16 percent of the nation’s population but only 4 percent of UR’s enrollment last school year.

The trends are not much better for local four-year colleges that draw more heavily from the Rochester region. Even though African-Americans make up 15 percent and Hispanics 7 percent of Monroe County’s population, most of the schools enroll 5 percent or less of these minority groups.

Only with Monroe Community College do the numbers reflect local diversity, with African-Americans making up 19 percent and Hispanics 7 percent of the enrollment.

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