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.