Few African-American Students From Baltimore High Schools Enroll at Johns Hopkins University or the University of Maryland

Very few students from the predominantly black Baltimore city school system enroll at the two most selective universities in the state, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland at College Park. This academic year, just 57 of the more than 4,000 freshmen at the University of Maryland are graduates of Baltimore’s public schools. The university offers nine full scholarships including tuition and room and board to Baltimore high school graduates.

Johns Hopkins University sends recruiters to all Baltimore high schools. Through its Baltimore Scholars program, Johns Hopkins offers free tuition to any graduate of the Baltimore public schools who wins admission to the university. In 2005, 23 Baltimore high school students gained admission to Johns Hopkins. The year before, when the program was not in effect, only five students from Baltimore high schools enrolled at Johns Hopkins. This year there are only 13 freshmen at Johns Hopkins from Baltimore high schools. 

Baltimore public schools are 89 percent black. For many of these students, attending a predominantly white university is a cultural shock that few of them are willing to face. Instead, many of these black students choose to enroll at one of the four historically black universities in the state, two of which are located in Baltimore.

But the largest barrier is the fact that students in Baltimore city high schools are almost never qualified for admission to selective colleges and universities. Many of the high schools in Baltimore do not offer Advanced Placement courses that are a staple of students who gain admission to selective universities. Only 4 percent of the students who enter Baltimore public high schools in ninth grade go on to earn a college degree over the next decade.