Top colleges struggle with student diversity

Tim Goral's picture

Most of America’s select institutions of higher education are straining to find a sustained path to diversity. But according to a new study from Georgetown University, they are failing. In fact, the study concludes that the system is becoming more polarized racially, with African-American and Hispanic students settling for community colleges and those without access restrictions.

Far more students graduate from the top 468 colleges and universities than those who attend the open-access, two- and four-year institutions. The result of that is a $2.1 million edge in lifetime earnings. The report stated that graduates of the select schools earn an average of $67,000 a year a decade after they graduate, which is $18,000 more than those from nonselective schools.

‘’The American post-secondary system increasingly has become a dual system of racially separate pathways, even as overall minority access (to that system) has grown dramatically,” one of the report’s authors said.

More than eight out of 10 white students attended the selective institutions, while only 13 percent of the African-American and Hispanic students did. So while enrollment doubled for Hispanics and climbed 73 percent for blacks between 1995 and 2009, diversity suffered a major setback.

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