Black Enrollments at the University of Georgia: Some Progress But Still a Long Way to Go

In 2003 blacks made up just 4.5 percent of the freshman class at the University of Georgia. Black first-year enrollments were down by more than 25 percent from the year earlier.

In the next year, 2004, the University of Georgia mounted an intense recruiting plan to increase the number of black applicants. It also made a more serious effort to encourage the black students it accepted to enroll. As a result, in 2005 black first-year students at the university increased by nearly 40 percent. Blacks were 7.6 percent of the entering class on the University of Georgia campus.

This fall the university has maintained, but not improved upon, its progress. Black first-year enrollments are nearly the same as a year ago.

It must be kept in mind that blacks are nearly 29 percent of the population in Georgia. Therefore, the black percentage of the incoming students at the university is only one fourth the level that would prevail if racial parity were to exist on the Athens campus.

unding for the Pell Grant program for low-income college students. The commission members agreed that a Pell Grant should cover at least 70 percent of the cost of higher education at a state-operated college or university. At the present time, the maximum Pell Grant award covers about 40 percent of the average annual cost of attending such educational institutions.

The commission’s recommendations will likely fall on deaf ears. Both the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress have been unwilling to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by even a small amount for the past five years. Thus it is almost certain that the proposal for a major increase in the maximum Pell Grant award will be dead on arrival at the Department of Education.

Among the members of the panel was Louis Sullivan, president emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.