Minority representation in the nation’s top universities has declined in the last 35 years despite affirmative action, according to a New York Times analysis.
The analysis, published on Aug. 24, looked at the fall enrollment data spanning from 1980 to 2015 at 100 of the nation’s top schools. Those schools ranged from Ivy Leagues to public flagship universities — including UNC.
The data showed minorities are more underrepresented at elite schools than they were in 1980. Graphs for the 100 institutions that were studied mostly showed trends of either decline or stagnation in the percentage of college-aged minority students entering as first-years, even though minority students now make up a larger majority of college-aged demographics.
Despite making up 15 percent of college-aged Americans, the analysts found that black students were particularly underrepresented. According to the NYT analysis, black students consisted of just 6 percent of incoming freshmen at top schools in 2015. This percentage was almost unchanged from that of 1980.
Similarly, the analysis found the gap between college-aged Hispanic students and Hispanic students at top universities had widened since 1980. In 2015, Hispanic 18-year-olds made up 22 percent of college-aged Americans but made up only 13 percent of the year’s incoming first-year at elite schools.