Study: Students of Color Excluded from Top U.S., Texas Colleges

AUSTIN – Significant numbers of African-American and Latino students are being excluded from America’s top public research universities, according to a new report.

The study from the progressive research and advocacy group Center for American Progress says in many states, including Texas, doors are often closed to minority students, forcing them to attend lower-tier four-year schools or community colleges, where opportunities for attainment might be limited.

The study’s author, Elizabeth Baylor, says cost is only one of several barriers these students face.

“There are significant numbers of black and Latino students who are well prepared for college,” she points out. “Sometimes it’s a choice on their part, because of economics or family issues. And other times, they might not know that this is an option that is available to them.”

Baylor says top schools often fall short in recruiting qualified minority students.

The study found nationally, only 9 percent of all African-American and 12 percent of Latino college students are attending top-tier schools.

Baylor says that excludes almost 200,000 of these students.

Texas colleges ranked fifth-worst compared to schools in other states, with only 6 percent of black students and 9 percent of Latino students attending top colleges.

Baylor says while larger states, including Texas, New York and California, rank low in the study, the problem is widespread.

“There are 40 states that have what’s called a very high-research university, which is similar to U.T. Austin,” she explains. “And so, in 39 of the 40 states, African-Americans are less likely to attend these colleges.”

Baylor points out that, conversely, black and Latino students are enrolled in disproportionately larger numbers at less selective public four-year colleges and community colleges, compared with students who are white or Asian.

“We talk a lot about college attainment, which is the share of people from a given community who have earned college degrees,” she states. “One of the things that I think is really important is, making sure that more Latino and black students fill this college pipeline will translate into higher levels of attainment.”

The study used 2014 data comparing enrollment at top-tier, lower-tier and community colleges for six groups of students: whites, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, American Indians and Pacific Islanders.

Author: Mark Richardson – Public News Service (TX)