When I created the blog post called "Diversity Fly-In Programs 2020 With Need-to-Know Data," I noticed something troubling: no school on that list hit 10% Black enrollment. The magic number for Black enrollment seems to always be 5% for these rejective (selective if you want to be nice) colleges (thanks to Akil Bello for the new phrase). After I graduated college, I learned that growing up in New York City, I was in a bubble because I lived in a primarily Black neighborhood and went to primarily Black schools. Of course, NYC has its brand of racism, but I didn't have much interaction with white people growing up because of the forced segregation I experienced.
When I moved to St. Louis and did the research for the post mentioned above, I realized that I was still in a segregated bubble working for mostly low-income Black and Brown students. With specific supportive college programs for the population I've worked with, the actual Black enrollment numbers at rejective colleges never crossed my mind. I once was blind, but now I see.
Today, one of my friends, Alicia Oglesby, asked in a group I'm in about Black enrollment at Predominantly white Institutions. I had meant to dig deeper since I created that diversity fly-in sheet. Her question moved me to act on the subject. My go-to's for data points are Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDs) and College Scorecard. But I struggled a bit with the first data source.
I asked resident college data guru Jon Boeckenstedt how I could get a list of colleges with 50+% white enrollment and 10+% Black enrollment? He sent me back the data instead. I'm grateful, considering he doesn't take requests. I only took out colleges with 50% and less acceptance rate from that data since society is obsessed with selectivity. Then, I added Black graduation rate and net price from IPEDs along with student and parent loan data from College Scorecard.
There is so much to say about this data, but I think the most important thing to point out is that the colleges that are always in the news for their high rejection rates aren't on this list at all. Looking beyond that, I must say that the Black graduation rates and levels of debt at the schools in the data above are alarming.
If you were interested in going beyond selectivity, I suggest the following social mobility resources for colleges that are playing a role in changing our country for the better:
In a world where rejective colleges say Black Lives Matter, their Black enrollment doesn't support what they supposedly believe. It's one thing to enroll Black students, but it's another to make sure they have the mental, social and academic support to graduate and have a career after. If rejective colleges want to actually be about their statements of solidarity, then radical change needs to happen in admissions and on campus in general. For some suggestions, do see my comments in the recent NACAC Journal.