Is Your School Engaging Today’s Growing Minority Population?
For Gen Z students, ethic and cultural diversity is a natural part of everyday life. Minority student groups now make up more than 40% of the total college population in four-year schools. How diverse is your campus?
According to NCES reports, all categories of ethnic minorities are on the rise, while the percentage of white students is falling.
For many schools, achieving diversity is a complex issue that will involve significant strategic planning and systemic changes, but we’ve identified a few points to get you thinking about the possibilities.
Some universities near large minority populations are reaching out to local high school students through special funding. The Johns Hopkins University, for example, recognizes high-achieving Baltimore City public school graduates (a school system with 92% minority students), with scholarship assistance up to 100% for eligible students. In the University of California system, the president herself, Janet Napolitano, recruits minority students in high schools. She breaks down misconceptions about affordability by highlighting the system’s generous system of financial aid.
Dr. Brian C. Mitchell, director of Edvance Foundation, adds further perspective: “In the end, the problem may be less about specialized recruitment counselors and money than about how to fix a broken pipeline and provide a better safety net.” He suggests that four-year institutions start by partnering with community colleges, where enrollment rates are high for minority students—creating a pathway for student transition. (See more here about recruiting community college students.)
Care and Retention
As minority students arrive on campus, without proactive outreach in place, they may feel isolated and experience culture shock. Minority students at Northeastern University in Boston rely on the African-American cultural center on campus as a safe space to discuss racial issues. Mitchell suggests mentoring programs for black students, as well as changing staff and faculty recruiting policies.
When prospective minority students look at your school, can they picture themselves there? Here are some tips that just touch the surface, but they’re critical if you want students to take a look below the surface and discover your school’s true heart for diversity.
- On your website and in your recruiting materials, be sure to include photos that naturally capture the student diversity of your campus.
- Identify affinity groups for under-represented students, and highlight organizations that welcome and celebrate ethnic diversity.
- Feature testimonials of a wide-range of students.
- Be intentional to include outstanding students of different ethnic groups as leaders for student recruitment events.
Growing diversity on campus reflects the multicultural world students will be entering after graduation. We encourage you to ask minority students on your campus, “How are we doing?”
National Center for Education Statistics. “Fast Facts.” https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98
The Johns Hopkins University. “The Baltimore Scholars Program.” https://baltimorescholars.jhu.edu/
Watanabe, Theresa. Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2016. “UC expands its recruiting efforts targeting black and Latino students.” http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-uc-diversity-20160205-story.html
Mitchell, Brian C. The Huffington Post, April 27, 2015, “College Minority Recruiting.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-brian-c-mitchell/college-minority-recruiti_b_7151494.html
National Center for Education Statistics. “Digest of Education Statistics.” Table 306.20. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_306.20.asp?current=yes
Krantz, Laura. Boston Globe. “Diverse campuses, but still few black students.” http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/04/24/boston-area-colleges-struggle-attract-african-americans-campus/ULApCGSF8aIn74RKnZGgUK/story.html