Over the Most Recent Two-Year Period, 27 of the Nation’s 30 Highest-Ranked Universities Have Shown a Decline in Their Percentages of Low-Income Students

Last week JBHE issued its report on the record of the nation’s 10 wealthiest universities in enrolling low-income students. Over the past two years, nine of the 10 showed a decline in their percentages of low-income students. If we expand this group to include the 30 highest academically ranked universities, we find similar results.

JBHE’s data on federal Pell Grants for low-income students, obtained from the Department of Education, shows that over the past 23 years only 10 of the nation’s 30 highest-ranked universities have shown progress in increasing the percentage of low-income students enrolled in undergraduate programs. The University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles have posted the largest gains.

Of the entire group of 30 high-ranking universities in the nation, 20 showed a long-term decline in enrollments of low-income students. Percentages of decline vary. Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Michigan showed the sharpest declines.

If we look at only the most recent two-year period, the results are even more disappointing. In the 2004 to 2006 period, among the 30 highest-ranked universities, only Dartmouth and Harvard posted gains in their percentages of Pell Grant recipients. The percentage of low-income students at Vanderbilt remained unchanged.

The most important point is that over the two-year period from 2004 to 2006, 27 of the 30 high-ranking universities showed declines in their percentages of low-income students.


In Computer Science, Black Faculty Are Hard to Find

According to a survey conducted by Professor Donna J. Nelson at the University of Oklahoma, there are a mere 23 blacks teaching computer science at the 100 universities with the largest research budgets in the field. There are only three full professors among this group, one each at the University of Colorado, Texas A&M University, and Jackson State University.

Six of the 23 blacks teaching computer science are on the faculty at historically black Jackson State University. Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte are the only predominantly white universities among the top 100 with more than one black faculty member in computer science.

Dr. Nelson’s research shows that there are no black computer scientists at Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Stanford, Columbia, Michigan, Chapel Hill, Princeton, Yale, Duke, or Dartmouth.


Duke University Deals With Its Past Use of Racially Restrictive Covenants in Deeds for Faculty Housing

Beginning in 1931 Duke University mandated that faculty members living in the Duke Forest could not sell their homes to blacks, or even let them sleep overnight on the property unless they were household help. Such restrictive covenants in housing were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948. But the covenants remained in deeds for 232 properties in Duke Forest until 1969. In 1989 the university sent a letter to property owners which stated, “The university can and hereby does make it clear that it repudiates racially restrictive covenants and regards them as morally wrong in addition to being legally void.”

Earlier this month Duke University went a step further. The university filed papers with the Durham County courts waiving any rights to enforce the restrictions on the 232 deeds for properties in the Duke Forest. While the filing is largely symbolic, the waivers eliminate the possibility that the exclusionary provisions could ever be reinstated should the Supreme Court ever overturn its decision outlawing restrictive covenants.



Increasing Enrollments of Low-Income Students Is One Task, Retaining Them Is Another Job Altogether

The AccessUVA scholarship program at the University of Virginia meets 100 percent of a student’s financial aid needs with scholarship grants. The program is exclusively for students from low-income families.

But offering attractive financial aid packages is only the first step. The number of low-income students actually enrolling at the University of Virginia remains low. And retaining those low-income students who do gain admission is also a challenging task.

To help low-income students who enroll, the University of Virginia has established the Rainey Academic Program. The program brings low-income students to campus in the summer before they start college. The students take two classes and live in university residence halls. They attend workshops that teach study skills, how to use the library, and how to make curriculum choices.

The program has been conducted the last three summers with between 14 and 19 students attending summer sessions. Because the groups have been small, there has been no conclusive statistical data to prove that the program has been successful in retaining students. However, the university believes the Rainey Academic Program has been well received by all students who have participated.


Business School Study Determines Economic Impact of African Americans in North Carolina

A new report from the Institute of Private Enterprise at the Kenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finds that African Americans contributed $44.7 billion to the state’s economy each year. The study found that 1.8 million African Americans generate $22,272 each to the state’s economy in the way of purchases and taxes.

The research also determined that the state of North Carolina spends about $4.5 billion, or $2,500 per black resident, for healthcare, education, and corrections. Blacks in North Carolina pay an estimated $3.8 billion in state and local taxes.


Wesleyan University Beefs Up Financial Aid for Low-Income Students

Wesleyan University, the highly selective liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut, recently announced that it will eliminate all loans from financial aid packages for students who come from families with incomes below $40,000. The college hopes to reduce the average debt of all students on financial aid by 35 percent.

The new financial aid program is expected to add $3.2 million to the university’s financial aid budget. Currently the university spends $35.4 million on student financial aid programs.

Wesleyan has a student body that is 7 percent black. About 13 percent of all students at the university receive federal Pell Grant awards for low-income students.


Students Who Are Involved in Music Education During the K-12 Years Are More Likely to Go On to College: Blacks Take Music More Often Than Whites

A new Harris poll of more than 2,500 adults nationwide found that 75 percent of all Americans were involved in a music program while they were in school. Students who participated in music programs such as band, orchestra, or chorus were more likely to go on to higher education than students who did not participate in music. More than 80 percent of students who were involved in music in their K-12 years went on to college and 86 percent of college graduates had participated in music education. Nearly nine of every 10 students who enrolled in graduate education had been involved in music during their K-12 years.

African Americans were more likely than whites and other ethnic groups to have participated in a music program during their K-12 years. Four fifths of all black students had some form of music education compared to 75 percent of white students.



• Beverly J. O’Bryant was named dean of the School of Professional Studies at Coppin State University in Baltimore. Dr. O’Bryant was a retired official of the Washington, D.C., public school system. Previously she was a special assistant to the provost at Bowie State University.

O’Bryant holds a doctorate in educational counseling from the University of College Park and is a past president of the American Counseling Association.

• Yvette Underdue Murph was appointed associate vice chancellor for academic affairs/enrollment management at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. She was the assistant vice president for enrollment and retention at Texas A&M University in Commerce.

Dr. Murph holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cambridge College and a Ph.D. in public administration from the University of La Verne.

• Loren J. Blanchard was appointed associate vice chancellor for academic and multicultural affairs at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. He was provost and vice president for academic affairs for the Louisiana State University System.

Dr. Blanchard is a graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans. He holds a master’s degree from McNeese State University and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.

• Shawn M. Bediako, an assistant professor of social psychology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, was appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to serve on the Statewide Steering Committee on Services for Adults With Sickle Cell Disease of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

• Clinton D. Gardner was named president of Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The exclusively online university was founded in 1996. Dr. Gardner, who holds an educational doctorate from Michigan State University, was president of Argosy University in Phoenix.

• Daarel E. Burnette was named interim vice chancellor of finance and administration at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. He was the associate vice chancellor.

Burnette, who served in the Air Force for 22 years, is a graduate of Morehouse College. He holds an MBA from Georgia State University.


The Fragility of Middle-Class Status for African Americans

A disturbing new study by researchers for the Brookings Institution finds that nearly one half of all African Americans who were born into middle-class families in the late 1960s fell into poverty status as adults.

The study, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, has tracked the economic status of more than 2,300 people, including 730 African Americans, over the past 40 years. The results show that 45 percent of black children in middle-class families in 1968 are now in the lowest one fifth of the nation’s earners. Only 16 percent of white children who were middle class in 1968 are now in the lowest one fifth of all earners.

The results show that only 31 percent of blacks who were in the middle quintile of family earners in 1968 have a higher income today (adjusted for inflation) than their parents had in 1968.

One reason that many middle-class black parents in 1968 were unable to transfer their economic status to their children is there was almost no accumulated wealth in middle-class black families at that time. Therefore, most middle-class black parents in 1968 did not have money to get their children started in a business, to loan them money to buy a home, or to pay tuition at a private college or university. Middle-class white families with more accumulated wealth were more able to pass on their economic status to their children.


“That’s not going to hold. I’m completely confident that black America will wake up and get it.”

Michelle Obama, commenting on polls showing Hillary Clinton with a large lead over her husband among African-American voters


Stanley F. Battle Looks to Attract the Best and Brightest Black Students to North Carolina A&T State University

A decade ago Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, enrolled 73 National Achievement Scholars, more than any other college or university in the nation. Frederick Humphries, the president of Florida A&M University until 2002, traveled the country seeking out and recruiting the nation’s most talented black students. Many of the college-bound blacks recruited by President Humphries were offered four-year scholarships which included full tuition, room and board, and spending money.

But over the past decade, numerous financial problems, turmoil in administrative ranks, and cuts in financial aid at FAMU have hampered the university’s ability to attract the nation’s brightest college-bound black students. In the fall of 2006 only one of the 800 National Achievement Scholars enrolled at Florida A&M.

Now Stanley F. Battle, chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, wants to replicate the earlier success of Florida A&M in attracting the nation’s top black students.

This fall the university will launch its Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy Scholars program. The scholarship program will be available for both North Carolina residents and out-of-state students.

Under the plan, incoming freshmen who have a 3.75 grade point average in high school and who scored at least 1200 on the combined mathematics and critical reading sections of the SAT college entrance examination will receive full scholarships covering tuition, fees, and room and board. In addition, students who were either first or second in their high school class and had SAT scores above 1100 would also be given full scholarships.

Students who score above 1000 on the SAT and who have a grade point average of at least 3.25 will be awarded scholarships ranging between 50 percent and 75 percent of tuition and fees.

Students will have to maintain a grade point average of 3.3 in college in order to maintain their scholarships.


The Compensation of African-American College Presidents

In the 2005-06 academic year, William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins University, earned a salary of nearly $1.5 million. With benefits, he had total compensation of more than $1.9 million.

University presidents at state-operated educational institutions also did quite well. John T. Casteen, president of the University of Virginia, had a salary of $468,000 and total compensation of more than $750,000. (The head football coach at the University of Virginia had total compensation of nearly $1.8 million.)

According to a recent report in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the mean compensation of presidents of large research universities in 2005-06 was more than $528,000. For small liberal arts colleges, the mean compensation was $276,000.

Here is a list of African Americans who are college presidents and the total compensation they received in the 2005-06 academic year:

Shirley Ann Jackson
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dorothy C. Yancy
Johnson C. Smith University
Ruth J. Simmons
Brown University
H. Patrick Swygert
Howard University
Freeman A. Hrabowski III
Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County
Walter D. Broadnax
Clark Atlanta University
Gwendolyn W. Stephenson
Hillsborough Community College
William R. Harvey
Hampton University
Beverly D. Tatum
Spelman College
Hazel R. O’Leary
Fisk University
Lloyd V. Hackley*
North Carolina A&T State University
William L. Pollard*
University of the District of Columbia
Norman C. Francis
Xavier University
Johnnetta B Cole*
Bennett College for Women
Beverly W. Hogan
Tougaloo College
Oscar L. Prater*
Talladega College
Charles E. Young
Allen University

*No longer serving as president of college or university.


Poll Finds That Racial Diversity on Campus Is an Important Factor When Black Students Choose Where to Enroll in College

A new poll of nearly 1,000 black and other minority college and high school students conducted by Widmeyer Communications finds that racial diversity was an important consideration for them in choosing a college. More than two thirds of the minority students said that it was important that the university they chose “had students from a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds.” Twelve percent of the respondents said that racial diversity was the most important factor in choosing a college.

Among the college students polled, 35 percent said they had encountered more diversity on campus than they had expected. But nearly one in five minority college students said the level of racial diversity was less than they had expected.

Nearly three quarters of all minority college students stated that they thought the colleges and universities needed to do more to foster greater interaction between different racial and ethnic groups on campus.


43.3%  Percentage of all non-Hispanic white children ages 12 to 17 who participated in after-school sports activities in 2004.

29.5%  Percentage of all non-Hispanic black children ages 12 to 17 who participated in after-school sports activities in 2004.

source: U.S. Census Bureau


Ruth Simmons Named One of America’s Best Leaders

Ruth J. Simmons, president of Brown University, was recently selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 18 best leaders in America. More than 200 individuals were nominated. The candidates were rated on their ability to inspire others, to communicate positive core values, and to implement innovative strategies. The candidates were also rated as to their success in building a shared sense of purpose and making a positive social impact.

In addition to Dr. Simmons, other individuals chosen as among the nation’s best leaders were California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Secretary of State James Baker, and Princeton University president Shirley Tilghman.

Other than Ruth Simmons, the only other African American on the list of best leaders was Kenneth Chenault, a graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. He is currently the CEO of American Express.



In Memoriam

Augustus Freeman Hawkins (1907-2007)

Augustus F. “Gus” Hawkins, who served for more than a quarter-century in the U.S. House of Representatives, died earlier this month at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 100 years old.

In 1962 Hawkins was the first African American to be elected to Congress from California. He was assigned to the Education and Labor Committee and played a role in drafting the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1984 he assumed chairmanship of this important House committee. Hawkins was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Hawkins was a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. As a young boy, Hawkins, who had very light skin, followed the rules of Jim Crow and sat in the back of racially segregated city street cars. But conductors, thinking he was white, routinely moved the colored section to behind where the young Hawkins was seated.

The Hawkins family moved to Los Angeles when Gus was 11 years old. He worked as a gymnasium janitor to pay his tuition at the University of California at Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1931 and did graduate work at the University of Southern California. In 1934, at the age of 27, Hawkins was elected to the California State Assembly. He served there for 28 years before running for Congress.

Hawkins retired from Congress in 1991 and lived in Washington for the remainder of his life.



• Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, received a $260,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grant will fund research at the university’s Center for Water and Air Quality.

• Norfolk State University, the historically black educational institution in Virginia, received a five-year, $2,500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will be used to provide scholarships for Head Start teachers in the community surrounding the university so that they can earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

The University of Pittsburgh received a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a research center to explore racial disparities in healthcare. The Research Center of Excellence in Minority Health Disparities will be established in the university’s Graduate School of Public Health. The research will be led by Stephen B. Thomas, Philip Hallen Professor of Community Health and Social Justice at the University of Pittsburgh.




Copyright © 2007. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.