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Nearly Half of Undergraduates are Students of Color

FEBRUARY 28, 2019

The findings from the most recent report from the American Council on Education on race and ethnicity in higher education should not come as a surprise.  Colleges student populations are growing more diverse, yet achievement gaps persist among different racial groups.  All students of color make up more than 45 percent of the undergraduate population compared to 30 percent two decades ago.  Nearly one-third of graduate students are now people of color.  Hispanic students have shown the most growth; they are enrolling in and completing college at levels never before seen.
Black students also represent a larger share of the undergraduate- and graduate-student population than twenty years ago, and a larger share of the students who earn degrees.

The racial composition of faculty and staff members, however, has not caught up with their increasingly diverse students, according to the report.  Just over one-fifth of all full-time faculty members are people of color.  Among college presidents, about 17 percent are nonwhite.  The most diverse group of campus administrators were in the student services area; one-fourth of them identified as minorities.

My full-time working career was spent working at private Christian colleges and universities , and I observed the same demographic shifts taking place that was reported by the American Council on Education--growing numbers of African-American, Asian, and Hispanic students.  In my current role as a higher education consultant (semi-retirement), approximately one-third of the institutions that I serve represent ethnically diverse communities.  It is a privilege to to work with a wide range of institutions that are a microcosm of the Church and our larger society.  "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ."  Galatians 3:28

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant
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