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Blacks increase college ranks.

After years of declining enrollment in institutions of higher education, minorities--particularly African-Americans--have begun to reverse the trend. A study released by the American Council on Education (ACE) in February shows increases in minority high school and college completion rates. "The Tenth Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education" illustrates that this progress is closing the gap between the educational attainment of blacks and whites.

"We are pleased about the upturn," says Reginald Wilson, Ph.D., senior scholar at ACE and coauthor of the study. "However, we'll have to wait a few years to see if this is a real trend."

According to the study, in 1985, 26.1% of black high school graduates, age 18 to 24, were enrolled in college. By 1990, that percentage had grown to 33%. By comparison, the percentage of white graduates increased from 34.4% to 39.4% during the same period.

According to the 1991 Statistical Report of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), also released in February, the greatest impact of the increases in black college enrollment was felt at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Enrollment at UNCF schools increased by 17% between 1986 and 1990, compared to an enrollment increase of 12% at all U.S. colleges during the same period.

African-Americans also made significant gains in high school completion rates. From 1970 to 1990, the percentage of black high school graduates increased from 59.5% to 77%. Meanwhile, the percentage of white high school graduates remained consistently between 81% and 83%.

Deborah J. Carter, assistant director of ACE's Office of Minorities in Higher Education, says more aggressive college recruitment efforts, increased enrollment at HBCUs and an increase in Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores of blacks have contributed to the upward trend. However, she cautions that Republican administration attacks on minority scholarships may mean that, "Although more people want to go to college, less money [will be] available, which will limit access to higher education for African-Americans."

Percy Bates, Ph.D., professor of education at the University of Michigan and chairman of the Higher Education Division of the National Alliance for Black School Educators, says blacks will act as their own role models as they attain higher education. "The more black students you see in college, the more they will continue to enroll."
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Author:Janice, Elizabeth
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Words:383
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