Harvard University Gets Shortchanged in Pell Grant Analysis

A recent analysis in the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked 75 private colleges and universities with large endowments over $500 million on their percentage of low-income students. Using federal Pell Grant data, the analysis placed Harvard University in 70th place among the 75 most highly endowed schools. According to the Chronicle’s analysis, 8.1 percent of Harvard undergraduates received federal Pell Grants in the 2006-07 academic year.

But this analysis was flawed — at least where Harvard is concerned. It did Harvard a severe injustice. In fact, according to JBHE calculations, during the 2006-07 academic year, 12.2 percent of Harvard undergraduates qualified for federal Pell Grants for low-income students. This would have placed Harvard in 29th place among the 75 colleges and universities in the Chronicle’s survey.

The reason for the discrepancy is that the Chronicle overstates the total number of undergraduates at Harvard. The Chronicle’s analysis says that there are 9,968 undergraduates at Harvard. But there are only 1,600 students in each entering class at Harvard and in 2007 there were fewer than 1,700 bachelor’s degrees awarded by the institution. Since Harvard has a very low dropout rate, it seemed to JBHE that it would be impossible for there to be nearly 10,000 undergraduate students at the university.

In fact there are not. The 9,968 figure includes approximately 3,300 students who are in non-degree extension programs at Harvard. According to the Harvard Web site, “The extension program is primarily for part-time students older than college age but seeking a liberal arts education. The extension program is outside Harvard’s traditional degree-granting programs.”

So the truth is that Harvard has been doing a far better job in enrolling low-income students than the Chronicle survey would lead the reader to believe. In fact, Harvard is one of the few leading universities to have shown an increase in low-income students over the past several years.

Alan J. Stone, vice president for government, community and public affairs at Harvard University, told JBHE that Harvard’s data for the current academic year — information that is not included in the latest Department of Education data — shows that there are 860 Pell Grant recipients at Harvard, making up 13 percent of the undergraduate student body.


Rhodes Scholar Named to Head the NAACP

This past Friday the executive board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People voted 34 to 21 to name Benjamin Todd Jealous as the organization’s new president. Jealous, who was supported by NAACP chair Julian Bond, was the only finalist presented to the board by the presidential search committee.

Jealous, a native of Monterey, California, is 35 years old. He is a graduate of Columbia University and earned a master’s degree at Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Most recently he has served as president of the Rosenberg Foundation in California. Previously he was director of the Human Rights Program at Amnesty International and also served as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a group of 200 black-owned publications.



New Center at Howard University Aims to Develop Strategies to Increase Racial Diversity in the Advertising Industry

Howard University in conjunction with the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) has announced the establishment of a center based at Howard’s John H. Johnson School of Communications that will strive to increase racial diversity in the advertising work force.

The new center, which was the brainchild of Jannette L. Dates, dean of the Johnson School, and O. Burtch Drake, outgoing AAAA president and CEO, has outlined four missions and goals:

1. Provide professional development and leadership training for midlevel managers of color in all areas of advertising;

2. Conduct research and produce analysis to help the industry increase the racial diversity of its employees;

3. Benchmark best practices and solutions to guide agencies’ diversity efforts; and

4. Develop strategies for retention and promotion of minority employees.

The advertising agencies pledge financial support and help in developing curriculum for the center’s academic offerings.


Blacks Win Only a Tiny Share of Florida’s Merit-Based College Scholarships

Students in Florida who graduate from high school with a 3.5 grade point average are eligible for a Bright Futures scholarship which will pay full tuition at a state university. Students with a 3.0 GPA can have the state pay 75 percent of their tuition costs.

The Bright Futures program began in 1997 with 42,000 students and a price tag of $70 million. Now the program has mushroomed to 150,000 students and costs the state nearly $400 million. State estimates show the price tag rising to $867 million over the next decade. The program is financed from proceeds of the Florida Lottery.

But these merit-based college scholarships have gone mostly to white middle-class students. Blacks are about 15 percent of the college-age population in Florida. But in 2007 blacks made up only 3 percent of the students who won full-tuition scholarships under the Bright Futures program.

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s public universities, has called for changes in the program so that more of the aid would go to low-income families. But the GOP-controlled state legislature has shown reluctance to make any changes.


41.0%  Percentage of all white Americans ages 18 to 24 in 2006 who were enrolled in higher education.

32.6%  Percentage of all black Americans ages 18 to 24 in 2006 who were enrolled in higher education.

source: U.S. Department of Education


New Scholarship Program Honors Congressman Parren Mitchell, Who Was First African-American Graduate Student at the University of Maryland

The Maryland Higher Education Commission has established a new college scholarship program to honor Parren J. Mitchell, the African-American politician who served eight terms as a congressman from Baltimore. The program authorizes up to 10 full-tuition scholarships to state universities to students who agree to work in public service once they earn their degrees.

In 1950 Mitchell filed a lawsuit to gain admission to a graduate school of the University of Maryland. He prevailed in the litigation and was the first African-American student to enroll in the graduate school. He earned a master’s degree in sociology in 1952.

Mitchell died in 2007.


Fourteen Black Students Awarded Teaching Fellowships

Fourteen African-American college students have been awarded 2008 Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Each fellow receives up to $21,100 over a five-year period that begins this year and ends after they have completed three years of teaching in the public schools.

The fellowships were established in 1992 to encourage black and minority college students to pursue careers in teaching. This is the 14th year the fellowships have been awarded. A total of 351 students have benefited from the program so far.

Of the African-American winners this year, three are from Spelman College in Atlanta and two are from Pomona College in Claremont, California. Here is a complete list of the black fellows for 2008:       

Academic Major(s)
Ikeisha Daniels Pomona College Black Studies/History
Malika Davis Spelman College Child Development
Kylah Field Swarthmore College Education/Political Science
Chiemezie Ibekwe Emory University Theater
Ligaya Jackson Howard University Human Development
Brittany Leonard Spelman College Child Development
Candice McCray Pomona College  Black Studies
Rousseau Mieze Williams College Black Studies/History
Stephanie Okpala Duke University Biology/Spanish
Aneka Roberts Yale University Psychology
Christina Tilghman  Wellesley College Black Studies
Daniella Valerius Pace University Education
Albert Walker Texas State University Sports Science/
Lauren Williams Spelman College English


Joshua Packwood Makes History at Morehouse College

This past weekend Joshua Packwood was honored as valedictorian of the Class of 2008 at Morehouse College, the historically black educational institution for men in Atlanta. Packwood majored in economics and had a 4.0 grade point average. He was a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and has landed a job with the investment banking firm Goldman, Sachs in New York City.

Four years ago, Packwood, a track athlete at a predominantly black high school in Kansas City, was heavily recruited to come to Morehouse. Officials at Morehouse had no idea that Packwood was white. When Packwood disclosed his ethnic background, Morehouse officials were surprised but they did not relent in their efforts to convince Packwood to come to Atlanta. This made a great impression on Packwood and he decided to become a “Morehouse Man.” He is the first white man in the college’s 141-year history to be named valedictorian.



• Patricia L. Hardaway, who for the past year has been provost at Wilberforce University in Ohio, will serve as interim president of the historically black educational institution when Floyd Flake steps down at the end of June. Hardaway is a graduate of Wilberforce University.

• Timothy A. Minor was named associate vice chancellor for development and university relations at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. He was director of development for centers and institutes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

• Teresa L. Fry Brown, associate professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was appointed director of the school’s Black Church Studies Program.

Professor Brown is a graduate of Central Missouri State University. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the Iliff School of Theology at the University of Denver.

• Valentine James was appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania. He was dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

Dr. James is a graduate of Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. He holds a master’s degree in environmental science from Governors State University in Illinois and a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from Texas A&M University.



• Winston-Salem State University, the historically black educational institution in North Carolina, received a $291,000 grant from the state university system for a summer and weekend learning program to prepare elementary school teachers to improve literacy skills among low-income students.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded a grant from the Gilead Foundation. The university operates a research and training facility for healthcare workers in Lilongwe, the capital of the African nation Malawi. The grant will fund the postdoctoral training in internal medicine of staff members who will continue their education at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The first physician who will receive training under the grant program is Dr. Cecilia Kanyama.


High-Ranking Universities Are Making Great Progress in Increasing Black Enrollments

Each autumn JBHE surveys the admissions offices of the nation’s high-ranking universities to determine the number of black first-year students at these institutions. Our database permits us to examine the enrollment trends to see which high-ranking universities are making the most progress in increasing the number of black students on campus.

Of the 27 high-ranking universities for which we have data, 23 showed an increase in black first-year enrollments over the past decade.

The largest increase in both actual numbers and in percentage terms occurred at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Black first-year enrollments have increased more than 160 percent during the period.

Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, Tufts University, and the University of California at Los Angeles all showed gains in black first-year enrollments of more than 60 percent over the 1998 to 2007 period.

Particularly good news is the major increases in black enrollments at MIT and Carnegie Mellon, two universities where many students concentrate in science and engineering.


“Education has always been viewed as suspect by everyone from slave owners to totalitarians. Wherever in the world you find them, they share one hostility: They hate books.”

Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News, 5-12-08


Blacks Making Progress in Princeton University’s Graduate Programs

Princeton University has made tremendous progress increasing the number of black undergraduate students on campus. This past academic year, there were 99 black first-year students on campus, making up nearly 8 percent of the freshman class. Princeton’s highly regarded black studies program has been a tremendous draw for college-bound black students. Also, Princeton has been a leader in establishing financial aid initiatives to draw more black students to the university.

But Princeton has struggled to attract blacks to its many graduate programs. In a typical year, blacks have made up between 2 percent and 3 percent of all graduate students at Princeton. Karen Jackson-Weaver, who was hired last summer as associate dean of academic affairs and diversity at the graduate school, has made a concerted effort to increase recruiting of black and minority students. Prospective graduate students from undergraduate campuses across the country were brought to Princeton for the graduate school’s “Preview Day.”

Statistics show that Dean Jackson-Weaver’s efforts are beginning to pay off. The number of black applicants to all of Princeton’s graduate programs has increased from 172 in 2005 to 215 this spring, an increase of 25 percent. Last year, 28 blacks were accepted for admission into graduate programs. This year, the number of black students admitted jumped 36 percent to 38. Eighteen percent of all black applicants to graduate programs were accepted compared to 13 percent of all applicants. Blacks were 2.3 percent of all applicants but 3.2 percent of all students admitted to Princeton graduate programs.


The Swan Song for the International Association of Jazz Educators

Jazz, the uniquely American form of music, has been highly influenced, if not dominated, by African-American artists. Today jazz education has become a mainstay of music departments at colleges and universities across the United States. Hundreds of scholars in the United States — both black and white — concentrate in jazz studies.

Thus, it comes with great sadness that we report the board of directors of the International Association of Jazz Educators has announced that it is dissolving the organization. The 10,000-member organization, based in Manhattan, Kansas, has closed its executive offices and filed for bankruptcy. Its annual meeting scheduled for Seattle has been canceled.

In a letter to members, Chuck Owen, president of the organization and Distinguished University Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of South Florida, wrote that an uneven revenue stream from conference fees, mounting debt, and expenses incurred for a fundraising campaign that brought in very little in proceeds, caused the organization’s board to dissolve the organization.


Black Scholars From African Nations Teaching at U.S. Universities

In the 2006-07 academic year, there were 98,239 foreign scholars teaching at American colleges and universities. Only 2,591, or 2.6 percent, are from Africa.

South Africa sent 280 scholars to teach in the U.S., more than any other black African nation. But it is not known how many of these South African scholars teaching in the U.S. are white.

Among other black African nations, Nigeria sent 273 scholars to teach in the United States. Kenya and Ghana were the only other black African nations to send more than 100 scholars to teach at U.S. universities. Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Senegal were the only other black African nations to send as many as 50 scholars to teach at U.S. universities.


High-Ranking Law Schools Showing Major Declines in Black Enrollments

At 18 of the nation’s 30 highest-ranked law schools black student enrollments have declined over the eight-year period from 1999 to 2007. At nine of the 30 top law schools black enrollments dropped by 19 percent or more.

Three large schools saw black enrollments drop by more than 40 percent. The largest decline was at the law school at the University of Illinois. In 1999 there were 74 black students enrolled at the law school at the university. By 2007 the number of black students at the law school dropped to 39, a decrease of 47.3 percent from eight years prior.

The law schools at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Iowa also saw decreases in black enrollments of more than 40 percent.

Among the top-ranked Ivy League law schools, only Harvard showed an increase in black enrollments. At Yale, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania, black enrollments were down by at least 10 percent.

Other law schools that showed major declines in black enrollments include Boston College, Stanford, and George Washington University.


Three Black Candidates Are Among the Four Finalists for Chancellor’s Position at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Blacks make up 10 percent of the student body at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha. But three of the four finalists for the chancellor position are African Americans. Following are brief biographies of the candidates:

Maurice C. Taylor is dean of the school of graduate studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Dr. Taylor holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from Bowling Green State University and a law degree from Duke University.

T.J. Bryan is a professor of English and former chancellor of Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. She was formerly vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. She holds a doctorate from the University of Maryland.

Gloria J. Gibson is dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Previously she served for 22 years as an administrator at Indiana University. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University.

The fourth, and only nonblack, candidate for the position is Robert D. Felner, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville.


In Memoriam

Reuben Henry Green (1934-2008)

Reuben H. Green, a professor of philosophy and religion for 39 years at LeMoyne-Owen College, the historically black educational institution in Memphis, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 73 years old.

Professor Green also served as pastor of the Central Baptist Church in Memphis for four decades.



• Reginal L. Henderson, a retired tenured assistant professor of industrial technology at Mississippi Valley State University, received the James Herbert White Preeminence Award for education. The award, named after its founding president, is the highest honor bestowed by Mississippi Valley State University.

• Junius W. Williams, executive director of the Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, received the university’s 2008 Human Dignity Award.

Williams, former president of the National Bar Association, is a graduate of Amherst College and the Yale University School of Law.

• Terri C. Houston, director of recruitment and multicultural programs in the department of diversity and multicultural affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received the university’s 2008 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award.

• Lauren Kelley, curator of the Fourth Floor Art Gallery at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, received the Altoids Award from The New Museum in New York City and the Altoids Curiously Strong Mints Company. The award for young emerging artists comes with a $25,000 cash award and exhibit space at The New Museum.

Copyright © 2008. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.