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Stats Watch

Stats Watch

Black Males Underrepresented in Higher Ed
University Business, Jan 2007

The enrollment of black males in higher education has not improved, despite many IHEs' efforts to recruit and retain them. The Dellums Commission has released a report on "Black Male Students at Public Flagship Universities in the U.S.-Status, Trends, and Implications for Policy and Practice." It reveals that although black males comprised 7.9 percent of the 18- to 24-year-old population in 2000, they accounted for no more than 5.2 percent of undergraduate students that year, and by 2004 had dropped to 2.8 percent. Also, although black female enrollment increased by 126 percent between 1976 and 2002, black male enrollment only increased 51 percent.

Black males who are enrolling aren't graduating as quickly as other students. In 2004, the mean graduation rate for black men was 44.3 percent, compared to 61.4 percent for white men and 53.2 percent for black women. The report also shines a light on the disproportionately large number of black males on college sports teams. In 2004, 10.4 percent of male undergraduates were black, yet 30.5 percent of all male student-athletes at Division I institutions were black.

The paper makes no claim about reasons for the trends. It does include suggestions to reverse them, such as maintaining affirmative action, hiring more black male faculty, tying accreditation to graduation rates, establishing NCAA policies addressing general enrollment to sports team ratios, and tying championship game participation to graduation rates. -A.M.

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