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Reply to "The Wide Variations in the Black-White Higher Education Gap in America's Largest Cities"

There are three articles all together....i'll just place them in this thread....

African Americans Continue to Flock to Graduate and Professional Schools

Since 1980 black enrollments in graduate school in the United States have more than doubled. Over the past five years the number of blacks entering graduate programs has continued to climb at a time when white enrollments have declined.
Similar gains in black enrollments in professional schools of law, medicine, and business have occurred over the past decade while white enrollments have stagnated.

A half-century ago youths of America were instructed by their elders that to make it in the world they must stay in high school and earn a diploma. A generation ago high school graduates were told, "To get a good job, you need a college education." Now the conventional wisdom is that to be successful in life, students should attend graduate or professional school.

Increasingly, black students are heeding the call to further their higher education. Black enrollments in graduate school have increased each year since 1984. In fact, since 1980 black enrollments in graduate school have more than doubled. Today there are more than 158,000 black students enrolled in graduate schools across the nation. Black enrollments in graduate school have continued to surge because historically they have been underrepresented in graduate programs. In 1980 blacks made up 5.6 percent of all students in American graduate schools. Now blacks make up 8.5 percent of all students in U.S. graduate programs, which is still well short of their percentage of the young adult population. Thus, over the past two decades, the huge surge in black enrollments in graduate school is simply a matter of continuing to catch up with their white peers. Clearly black enrollments in graduate school have increased over the past two decades because of aggressive affirmative action recruitment plans in place in many U.S. graduate schools.

Since 1980 white enrollments in graduate school also have increased. In 1980 there were slightly over one million white students enrolled in graduate school. During the recession in the early 1980s white enrollments decreased slightly. But from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s white enrollments in graduate programs increased from slightly over one million students to a high of 1,282,000 students in 1994. This was an increase of more than 28 percent.

But from 1994 to 1998 white enrollments in U.S. graduate schools declined. In these years the U.S. economy was enjoying the peak of the so-called dot-com boom. Many white college students were determined to get into business immediately after earning their bachelor's degrees in order to participate in this economic bonanza. It appears that many white students during this period decided to forgo graduate school in order to take highly paid positions at high-tech firms. On the other hand, opportunities for blacks in the dot-com economy were scarce. From the beginning, African Americans had a very small presence in high-tech industries. Thus, black college students may have been more likely than their white peers to stay in school to pursue graduate studies.

In both 1999 and 2000, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were slight increases in overall white enrollments in graduate school. As the economy began to sour in 2000 more white students seemed to have decided to stay in school rather than enter the job market.

Blacks in Professional Schools

In addition to the 158,000 blacks enrolled in graduate programs, in 2000 there were 24,000 blacks enrolled in professional schools. These professional schools include graduate programs in medicine, law, dentistry, veterinary medicine, divinity, business management, and other professional fields.

In 2000 blacks made up 7.7 percent of all students in professional schools in the United States. In 1980 blacks made up 4.6 percent of all professional school students.

Over the past decade black enrollments in professional schools have increased from 16,000 to 24,000, a rise of 50 percent. During the same period, white enrollments in professional schools actually declined slightly from 221,000 to 220,000.

Once again, affirmative action has been a major force in increasing black enrollments in professional schools. Many of the nation's top medical schools have black enrollments of 8 percent or more despite the fact that blacks make up less than 2 percent of the top scorers on the Medical College Admission Test. Five of the nation's 25 highest-ranked law schools have black enrollments of 10 percent or more. Probably the best evidence of the impact of affirmative action in professional school enrollments is at the high-ranking law, business, and medical schools in California, Texas and other states in which race-sensitive admissions have been abandoned. These states have shown significant drops in professional school enrollments. In some cases black enrollments at professionals schools in these states dropped by more than two thirds in the year in which race-sensitive admissions were abandoned