As U.S. News recently released their 2018 Best Colleges List, the issue of minority representation at selective colleges has on my mind a bit more than usual. I wasn’t surprised to find that diversity of student population, minority representation (whatever you want to call it) is not a factor in their ranking methodology.
I was surprised, however, to find out (via a recent New York Times report spanning 1980 - 2015) that black and Hispanic first-year students are more underrepresented at selective colleges and universities than than they were in 1980, over 30 years ago.
The numbers underscore how underrepresented minority groups are on campuses.
Among the eight schools that make up the Ivy League, black students make up 9 percent of all first-years, while they account for 15 percent of college-age Americans. Hispanic students make up a larger percentage of first-years (15 percent), but account for 22 percent of college age Americans, making the gap slightly larger at 7 points. Numbers are similar among liberal arts schools and other top public and private institutions.
In the case of our beloved UNC, we have somewhat of an anomaly. Hispanic first-year students made up 0 percent in 1980. In the over 30 years since, that number has risen to eight percent. In comparison to many of our peer institutions, that number is amazing.