Maryland Hopes to Be Removed From Federal Oversight of Its Higher Education System Despite Persisting Racial Segregation

The state of Maryland has asked the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education to declare that Maryland has complied with federal requirements to desegregate its higher education system. Maryland is one of only seven states that are still under federal oversight regarding racially segregated higher education systems.

Since 2001 Maryland has allocated more than $400 million to its four historically black campuses. Yet there are still major differences between the historically black educational institutions and the University of Maryland and other public, predominantly white institutions. Blacks continue to make up 90 percent of the student bodies at the black campuses. Graduation rates at the black colleges are significantly below those of other public universities in the state. Also, the average SAT scores of students at the black colleges are 300 points below those of black students at the state’s predominantly white institutions.

Complicating the situation is a federal lawsuit calling for the state to dismantle a new MBA program at predominantly white Towson State University which competes with an already established MBA program at Morgan State University. Such competing programs, according to the lawsuit, violate the desegregation agreement the state has with the federal government.