Black Student and Faculty Representation: How Much Progress Have We Made?

Political winds may shift, but racial factors in college success statistics don’t, according to We were intrigued by this post from Marybeth Gasman of Rutgers:

In response, one our followers asked:

In an effort to understand I learned 13.4% of Americans are African American. 14% of students seems like a expected number. The second statistic seems odd to me if the first one is correct why do you think that the student numbers don’t translate into the faculty numbers?

We have reached out to Dr. Gasman for comment. She responded:

Gassman One

Thank you, Dr. Gasman. And Here are other enlightening details:

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education,

Black students, too, represent a larger share of the undergraduate- and graduate-student population than 20 years ago, and a larger share of the students who earn degrees. But black students who began college in the fall of 2011 had higher dropout rates and lower six-year completion rates — 46 percent at public institutions, 57 percent at private institutions — than any other racial group. The gender gap for black students is wider than it is for any other group, as nearly two-thirds of black undergraduates, and more than two-thirds of black graduate students, are women. Black male students pursuing bachelor’s degrees were the most likely among any demographic group to drop out after their freshman year. Black undergraduates also owed 15 percent more than other students after graduation: an average of $34,010, compared with $29,669 for all students. One-third of black students accumulated more than $40,000 in debt after graduation, versus 18 percent of students over all. Even with a bachelor’s degree, black graduates between the ages of 25 and 34 had lower salaries than other graduates of a similar age, and their unemployment rate was two-thirds higher, on average.

There is also this detail from The Atlantic:

The Missing Black Students at Elite American Universities Minority college enrollment has skyrocketed, but the black share of the student bodies at top research schools has barely budged in 20 years.

Stay tuned for more on this very important issue.

Recommended Reading:

Getting in is only half the battle. The Privileged Poor reveals how―and why―disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges, and explains what schools can do differently if these students are to thrive.

Priveleged poorThe Ivy League looks different than it used to. College presidents and deans of admission have opened their doors―and their coffers―to support a more diverse student body. But is it enough just to admit these students? In The Privileged Poor, Anthony Jack reveals that the struggles of less privileged students continue long after they’ve arrived on campus. Admission, they quickly learn, is not the same as acceptance. This bracing and necessary book documents how university policies and cultures can exacerbate preexisting inequalities and reveals why these policies hit some students harder than others.

Despite their lofty aspirations, top colleges hedge their bets by recruiting their new diversity largely from the same old sources, admitting scores of lower-income black, Latino, and white undergraduates from elite private high schools like Exeter and Andover. These students approach campus life very differently from students who attended local, and typically troubled, public high schools and are often left to flounder on their own. Drawing on interviews with dozens of undergraduates at one of America’s most famous colleges and on his own experiences as one of the privileged poor, Jack describes the lives poor students bring with them and shows how powerfully background affects their chances of success.

If we truly want our top colleges to be engines of opportunity, university policies and campus cultures will have to change. Jack provides concrete advice to help schools reduce these hidden disadvantages―advice we cannot afford to ignore.


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