Disappointing News on Black Enrollments at Two Flagship Universities in the South

The University of Arkansas has a record number of students on campus this fall. There are 1,040 African Americans enrolled at the flagship campus in Fayetteville. But these black students make up only 5.2 percent of the total enrollments. This about one third the percentage of blacks in the state’s population.

In 1999, there were more than 3,000 students on the flagship campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. They made up a whopping 19.3 percent of the student body. This was the highest percentage of black students of any flagship state university in the nation.

The most recent data shows that black enrollments have declined by more than 700 students, a drop of 24 percent. Blacks now make up 11.6 percent of total enrollments at the University of South Carolina.

University officials note that tuition at the Columbia campus nearly doubled during the 1999-2008 period. And tuition is more affordable at other universities in the state system.