Monday, September 2, 2019
Chronicle of Higher Education, Why Has Black-Student Enrollment Fallen?:
From the fall of 2010 to the fall of 2017, Amherst’s African-American enrollment rose to 1,320, from just 1,000, a 32 percent increase. Black students still make up just 5.2 percent of the student body. But the numbers are moving in a positive direction.
That is not the case for black enrollment in college over all. It hit a peak in 2010 and has declined by more than 13 percent since then [Change in Black vs. Overall College Enrollment, by Sector, Fall 2010 to Fall 2017]. Sixty-six percent of recent black high-school graduates enrolled in college in 2010. By 2017 that share had fallen to 58 percent.
Black enrollment took a hit for several reasons. African-American students were disproportionately represented at for-profit colleges, hundreds of which have closed in the past few years. Low unemployment rates have led to enrollment declines at two-year public colleges, where blacks are slightly overrepresented.
The estimated number of black public-high-school graduates in the country has fallen by about 25,000 from 2010 to 2017, meaning the pool is smaller — but that is nowhere near the loss in enrollment of nearly 365,000 black college students over the same period. Some college officials argue the level of decline found in U.S. Department of Education data may appear exaggerated, because an increasing number of students identify themselves as "two or more races," and others are of unknown race.
Even though African-American enrollment at four-year public institutions grew from 2010 to 2017, it didn’t grow at the same pace as overall enrollment.