Cornell Looking to Climb Out of the Ivy League Cellar in Black Enrollments

According to the latest JBHE statistics, Cornell University is last among the Ivy League colleges in its percentage of black enrollments.

But Cornell is taking steps to improve racial diversity on campus. There are 682 black undergraduates on campus this year, the highest number in more than two decades. There are 192 black first-year students at Cornell this year. They make up 5.9 percent of all freshman students. This is the highest percentage of black freshmen at Cornell since 1993 when JBHE first began tracking black first-year enrollments at the nation’s highest-ranked universities.

Although handicapped by the fact that it is located in a rural section of New York State far from the East Coast’s black population centers, Cornell has increased its on-campus recruitment efforts targeting black students. And its admissions officers have greatly increased their number of visits to inner-city high schools.

Cornell’s Multicultural Visitation program brings 200 black and other minority students to campus each fall for a two-night stay. Buses are chartered to bring students from New York City and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to Cornell.

These efforts have resulted in a 52 percent increase in the number of minority students who have applied to Cornell over the past three years.