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Black Issues in Higher Education

Degree-Producer Analysis Offers GOOD & BAD NEWS

Degree-Producer Analysis Offers GOOD & BAD NEWS – minority graduate numbers up, except for Hispanics

Michele N-K Collison

WASHINGTON — The number of African American students earning college degrees continues to increase at all categories of institutions, according to Black Issues in Higher Education’s annual survey of the Top 100 degree producers. Going by the preliminary figures for 1997-`98, the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by African American students increased by 4.3 percent from 1996-`97, while the number of associate’s degrees increased by 2.1 percent during the same time period.

“The number of minority students is growing,” says Jacqueline Woods, public liaison for community colleges at the U.S. Department of Education. “More and more of them are realizing that a postsecondary education is a key to a good job now and in the future.”

African Americans were not the only minority group to post gains in earning college degrees according to the survey. Over that same year, American Indians-who traditionally have had very low rates of participation in higher education- have increased the number of earned bachelor’s by 7.1 percent to a preliminary count of 7,694 in 1997-`98. The number of bachelor’s earned by Asian Americans also soared, climbing 5.1 percent to 69,487.

Education observers are worried however, by a decrease in the number of bachelor’s earned by Hispanic students. According to preliminary figures, Hispanic students earned 59,540 degrees in 1996-`97 and only 54,626 in 1997-`98. The decline is especially worrisome given that Hispanic students represent the fastest growing segment of the nation’s population.

But while scholars are pleased that minority students continue to earn an increasing number of degrees, they caution that students of color remain under-represented at every degree level. For instance, while the percentage of degrees earned by African Americans is now 7.5 percent, Blacks represent 12 percent of the nation’s population. Moreover, while majority institutions are making some progress in graduating more African-American students, historically Black colleges and universities continue to graduate the lion’s share of these students. Eight out of the top 10 institutions on the list of African American baccalaureate degree-producers are HBCUs, as are 15 of the top 20.

“We celebrate the gains, but we still have a long way to go,” says Dr. Walter R. Allen, professor of education at the University of California-Los Angeles. “We made impressive gains in the late `60s and since then we’ve been in these cyclical patterns where we’ve made some gain followed by losses. We’ve got to figure out some strategies to make these gains permanent.”

But educators say many of the tools to increase college-going rates are being removed. They say court cases and voter initiatives mean that many states like California and Washington can no longer use race as a factor in admissions, and high-stakes standardized testing may keep many minority students from gaining access to college.

National experts also say many colleges do not have programs or support services in place for African American students who came from school districts that did not prepare them for the rigors of college academics. “State policies and other actions that limit access are causing African American students to return to our institutions at a higher rate than ever before,” says Dr. Delores Cross, president of Morris Brown College in Atlanta. “Believe me, we welcome them to our schools with open arms and are concerned about their success. For many of us, our mission remains the same, but we cannot ignore how the clock is carefully turning backward instead of forward and our students are being turned away from majority schools because, to them, access is a dirty word.”

Other critics say the successes of HBCUs are threatened by decades of underfunding and state plans to desegregate their public universities by opening new campuses offering programs that duplicate those at Black institutions.

“We must absolutely insure the future of HBCUs,” Allen says. “Many would like to pretend that Black students would automatically move from the HBCUs to majority institutions. But the fact is, if we take away the HBCUs, many Black students would lose the opportunity to attend college. Black institutions still account for a disproportionate number of degrees earned by Black students.”

Educators predict that as more minority students enter college, administrators will have to make changes to accommodate them.

“They are not traditional students,” Woods says. “They have a lot of needs that colleges haven’t had to deal with. The mission of higher education is going to have to change because of the needs of students of color. Their ability to succeed will be based on how higher education meets their needs.”

In fact, as the number of minority students who attend college increases, the institutions attracting them are the ones that offer year-round classes, which allow students to graduate faster, says Dr. John Lee, president of JBL Associates, a higher education consulting firm in Bethesda, Md.

“Many of these schools are proprietary schools and community colleges that recognize that students are working and going to school and they want to be able to get a better job very quickly,” he says.

Along with speed, practicality also is a factor. This year marks the first time BI has published the most popular bachelor’s degrees earned by all students. A business degree is the number one choice of today’s pragmatic college graduates. In fact, the major tops the list among every ethnic group, outpacing the degrees earned in the second and third most popular majors combined, social sciences and history/education.

Another first is the listing of which Carnegie Class of institutions awarded the most bachelor’s degrees to students. Master’s I institutions came up on top-with no close contenders- awarding the most bachelor’s degrees to African American, American Indian and Hispanic students. Research I institutions awarded the most bachelor’s degrees to Asian American students.

Florida A&M University ranks first in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black students for the fourth year in a row, though this year’s total of 1,201 graduates represents a drop of 1.2 percent compared to last year’s total.

The leading non-HBCU institution to confer degrees to African Americans was Chicago State University for the second year in a row. The university increased its total number of African American graduates by 2 percent to 747 graduates.

Several HBCUs saw their number of graduates increase in 1997-`98 after two years of decreases, including Howard University, up 5.8 percent; Hampton University, 3.8 percent; Norfolk State, up 4.1 percent; Grambling, up 3.6 percent and Xavier University, up 11 percent. Still others continued to post decreases in graduates: Tuskegee University dropped by 4.8 percent and the University of the District of Columbia by 2.9 percent.

Total Minority – Bachelor’s Degrees

1992-93 1993-94 1994-95

GRAND TOTAL 177043 191970 215788

CONTROL

PUBLIC 120684 130914 144817

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 54428 58629 67964

PROPIETARY 1931 2427 2987

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 48898 51974 53244

RESEARCH II 9657 10750 11000

DOCTORAL I 10651 11825 11910

DOCTORAL II 12027 12867 16447

MASTER’S I 63044 68710 77942

MASTER’S II 3200 3672 5641

BACHELOR’S I 5693 6126 6712

BACHELOR’S II 16829 17586 21786

ASSOCIATES 82 194 374

SPECIALIZED 6153 6771 8293

TRIBAL 8 55 43

UNCLASSIFIED 801 1440 2376

Preliminary

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98

GRAND TOTAL 215929 224340 227331

CONTROL

PUBLIC 146831 154992 157369

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 65863 66041 66527

PROPIETARY 3235 3307 3435

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 57417 57965 61884

RESEARCH II 11788 12766 12365

DOCTORAL I 12494 13169 13325

DOCTORAL II 15232 16235 16448

MASTER’S I 76857 80691 80514

MASTER’S II 4633 4819 4584

BACHELOR’S I 6718 6799 6293

BACHELOR’S II 20576 20997 21150

ASSOCIATES 294 439 484

SPECIALIZED 7578 7955 7662

TRIBAL 57 67 67

UNCLASSIFIED 2285 2438 2555

Note: These tables include degrees conferred at accredited postsecondary institutions within the 50 States and the District of Columbia

Five-Year Trends in Degrees Awarded To African Americans by HBCUs vs All Other Institutions

1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96

ASSOCIATES

HBCU 1,338 1,305 1,319 1,443

All Others 39,879 44,247 43,290 47,761

Total 41,217 45,552 44,609 49,204

BACHELOR’S

HBCU 21,739 23,295 22,627 25,286

All Others 54,816 58,888 61,144 64,126

Total 76,555 62,183 83,771 89,412

ALL DEGREES

HBCU 26,578 28,580 27,808 31,519

All Others 115,455 125,719 129,125 138,123

Total 142,033 154,299 156,933 169,642

Preliminary Avg. Annual

1996-97 1997-98 Pct. Change

ASSOCIATES

HBCU 1,430 1,446 1.6%

All Others 49,816 50,859 5.0%

Total 51,246 52,305 4.9%

BACHELOR’S

HBCU 25,009 25,386 3.2%

All Others 66,523 70,138 5.1%

Total 91,532 95,524 4.5%

ALL DEGREES

HBCU 31,625 32,366 4.0%

All Others 144,679 151,256 5.6%

Total 176,305 183,622 5.3%

Top Bachelor’s degree Disciplines by Race/Ethnicity

African American Asian

American Indian American

BUSINESS MGMT & ADMIN SVCS 1 1 1

SOCIAL SCIENCES & HISTORY 2 3 3

EDUCATION 3 2 10

HEALTH PROFESSIONS & REL SCI 4 4 5

PSYCHOLOGY 5 5 6

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES/LIFE SCI 6 6 2

COMMUNICATIONS 7 10 13

LIB ARTS, SCI/GEN STUDS. HUM 8 7 14

PROTECTIVE SERVICES 9 13 21

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION & SVCS 10 12 20

ENGLISH LANGUAGE/LIT/LETTERS 11 9 9

VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS 14 8 8

ENGINEERING 12 11 4

COMPUTER & INFORMATION SCI 13 16 7

MULTI/INTERDISCIPLIN STUDIES 15 14 11

Non-

Hispanic Minority

BUSINESS MGMT & ADMIN SVCS 1 1

SOCIAL SCIENCES & HISTORY 2 2

EDUCATION 3 3

HEALTH PROFESSIONS & REL SCI 5 4

PSYCHOLOGY 4 5

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES/LIFE SCI 6 6

COMMUNICATIONS 9 10

LIB ARTS, SCI/GEN STUDS. HUM 7 11

PROTECTIVE SERVICES 11 14

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION & SVCS 15 17

ENGLISH LANGUAGE/LIT/LETTERS 12 9

VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS 13 8

ENGINEERING 8 7

COMPUTER & INFORMATION SCI 16 12

MULTI/INTERDISCIPLIN STUDIES 10 13

This list includes each ethnic group’s Top 10 disciplines in number of bachelor’s degrees conferred in 1997-98. In other words, to be included in this list, the discipline had to rank in the Top 10 for at least one ethnic group. Once it appears in the list, the discipline is ranked in popularity among each group, even if it doesn’t fall into that group’s Top 10.

African American – Bachelor’s Degrees

1992-93 1993-94 1994-95

GRAND TOTAL 79555 82183 83771

CONTROL

PUBLIC 49587 53540 56531

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 26122 27480 26966

PROPIETARY 848 1163 1274

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 13611 13857 12523

RESEARCH II 3654 3969 3932

DOCTORAL I 5268 5751 5654

DOCTORAL II 4313 4610 5146

MASTER’S I 30376 33074 34519

MASTER’S II 2017 2296 2729

BACHELOR’S I 2611 2658 2656

BACHELOR’S II 11587 12182 12586

ASSOCIATES 42 93 162

SPECIALIZED 2758 3027 2916

TRIBAL

UNCLASSIFIED 318 666 948

HBCU(*) 21739 23295 22627

Preliminary

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98

GRAND TOTAL 89412 91532 95524

CONTROL

PUBLIC 57940 60179 61986

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 30044 29951 31953

PROPIETARY 1428 1402 1585

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 13885 13862 15025

RESEARCH II 4229 4490 4464

DOCTORAL I 5961 6239 6616

DOCTORAL II 5569 5843 6085

MASTER’S I 35685 36743 37820

MASTER’S II 2879 2808 2996

BACHELOR’S I 2763 2558 2729

BACHELOR’S II 13965 14301 14872

ASSOCIATES 157 261 300

SPECIALIZED 3281 3472 3496

TRIBAL 19

UNCLASSIFIED 1038 955 1102

HBCU(*) 25286 25009 25386

(*) Unlike tribal colleges, which are considered a separate Carnegie Classification category, historically Black colleges and universities are distributed through the Carnegie Categories

Asian American – Bachelor’s Degrees

1992-93 1993-94 1994-95

GRAND TOTAL 56428 54496 59114

CONTROL

PUBLIC 35271 37774 41083

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 14709 16148 17417

PROPIETARY 448 574 614

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 22268 23908 26160

RESEARCH II 3034 3330 3487

DOCTORAL I 2545 2944 3078

DOCTORAL II 3103 3252 3448

MASTER’S I 13344 14232 15268

MASTER’S II 429 497 819

BACHELOR’S I 1852 2107 2187

BACHELOR’S II 1955 1975 2163

ASSOCIATES 5 30 33

SPECIALIZED 1681 1862 1997

TRIBAL

UNCLASSIFIED 212 359 474

Preliminary

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98

GRAND TOTAL 62805 66086 69487

CONTROL

PUBLIC 43510 46858 48773

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 18664 18621 19926

PROPIETARY 831 607 788

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 28108 28983 31027

RESEARCH II 3781 4096 4195

DOCTORAL I 3083 3343 3463

DOCTORAL II 3736 4195 4285

MASTER’S I 16121 17124 17846

MASTER’S II 604 681 698

BACHELOR’S I 2431 2552 2520

BACHELOR’S II 2378 2436 2510

ASSOCIATES 59 70 90

SPECIALIZED 2036 2033 2192

TRIBAL

UNCLASSIFIED 468 573 661

American Indian – Bachelor’s Degrees

1992-93 1993-94 1994-95

GRAND TOTAL 5673 8064 6389

CONTROL

PUBLIC 4337 4881 5094

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 1195 1156 1232

PROPIETARY 41 27 63

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 1138 1280 1227

RESEARCH II 486 544 566

DOCTORAL I 320 344 399

DOCTORAL II 433 489 473

MASTER’S I 2190 2382 2527

MASTER’S II 130 131 152

BACHELOR’S I 130 112 132

BACHELOR’S II 523 511 601

ASSOCIATES 4 3 5

SPECIALIZED 182 178 198

TRIBAL 8 55 43

UNCLASSIFIED 29 35 66

Preliminary

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98

GRAND TOTAL 8813 7182 7694

PUBLIC 5344 5606 5960

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 1377 1484 1646

PROPIETARY 92 92 88

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 1372 1325 1501

RESEARCH II 625 721 707

DOCTORAL I 396 438 467

DOCTORAL II 497 526 552

MASTER’S I 2552 2744 2952

MASTER’S II 177 209 186

BACHELOR’S I 128 181 167

BACHELOR’S II 714 666 804

ASSOCIATES 7 8 18

SPECIALIZED 210 211 208

TRIBAL 57 67 48

UNCLASSIFIED 78 86 84

Hispanic – Bachelor’s Degrees

1992-93 1993-94 1994-95

GRAND TOTAL 44487 49227 66494

CONTROL

PUBLIC 31489 34719 43109

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 12402 13845 22349

PROPIETARY 596 663 1036

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 11881 12929 13334

RESEARCH II 2483 2907 3015

DOCTORAL I 2518 2786 2779

DOCTORAL II 4178 4516 7380

MASTER’S I 17134 19022 25628

MASTER’S II 624 748 1941

BACHELOR’S I 1100 1249 1737

BACHELOR’S II 2764 2918 6436

ASSOCIATES 31 68 174

SPECIALIZED 1532 1704 3182

TRIBAL

UNCLASSIFIED 242 380 888

Preliminary

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98

GRAND TOTAL 56898 59540 54626

CONTROL

PUBLIC 40037 42349 50650

PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT 15778 15985 13002

PROPIETARY 1084 1206 974

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION

RESEARCH I 14052 13795 14331

RESEARCH II 3153 3459 2999

DOCTORAL I 3054 3149 2779

DOCTORAL II 5430 5671 5526

MASTER’S I 22499 24080 21896

MASTER’S II 973 1121 704

BACHELOR’S I 1396 1508 877

BACHELOR’S II 3519 3594 2964

ASSOCIATES 71 100 76

SPECIALIZED 2051 2239 1766

TRIBAL

UNCLASSIFIED 701 824 708

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