The Persisting Myth That Black Colleges Are Becoming Whiter

Last week JBHE reported that, combined, the nation’s black colleges have slightly higher percentages of black students than they did 10 or 20 years ago.

If we look at individual black colleges and universities we find that blacks make up about two thirds or more of all enrollments at all but three of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. At two thirds of the black colleges, blacks are 90 percent or more of the total enrollments. At many of the black colleges where blacks are not 90 percent or more of all enrollments, foreign students or Hispanics make up large percentages of the student body. At many black colleges and universities, a handful of white students at most can be found.

Furthermore, at some of the black colleges with the lowest percentages of black students, the percentage of blacks in their student bodies has increased significantly over the past decade. For example, at Lincoln University in Missouri in 2003, blacks were 34.1 percent of all enrollments. A decade earlier, blacks were only 27.4 percent of the enrollments. At Kentucky State University, racial integration efforts had succeeded to such a degree in 1993 that 47.7 percent of all enrollments at the university were black. The latest figure shows that blacks are now 64.2 percent of all enrollments. At Langston University in Oklahoma, blacks were 57.8 percent of all enrollments in 1993. Today, more than three quarters of all students at the university are black.