Fayetteville State University, a historically black institution, saw the greatest increase in enrollment, but Elizabeth City State University and Winston-Salem State University, also historically black institutions, saw declines in enrollment.
When compared to the North Carolina general population, African American, American Indian and Hispanic/Latino students are still underrepresented by one to two percent. Students identifying as Asian or white are currently overrepresented.
UNC-CH has a strong history of enrolling minority students, but there is still progress to be made, Farmer said. He said UNC-CH employs a lot of different recruitment strategies focused on multicultural students, including scholarship dinners, group tours and opportunities to shadow current students for a day.
“We want to offer the opportunities and let the students decide where they want to plug in and find out where they fit,” Farmer said.
Richard Rothstein, a research associate for the Economic Policy Institute, said minority enrollment in the UNC system does not necessarily reflect a national trend. Enrollment numbers in the UNC system closely resemble the demographics of the state, but do not tell the whole story.
“Recruitment doesn’t mean anything if they aren’t graduating,” he said. “It’s easy to recruit someone who isn’t qualified or isn’t given the support to graduate.”
The key, Rothstein said, is to keep graduation numbers as high as enrollment numbers.
“The question is how well the UNC system can support these students that they are enrolling.”