University of Virginia Posts Major Gain in Black Freshmen

When JBHE first started to track black freshman enrollments at the nation’s highest-ranked universities in the early 1990s, the University of Virginia led the way in each of the first five years of our survey. But over the next decade, the university never regained the top spot.

This year the University of Virginia is once again challenging for first place in our annual survey. While not all universities have reported final figures, the data shows that there are 360 black first-year students at the University of Virginia this fall. They make up 11.4 percent of all first-year students. Last fall there were 260 black freshmen. Therefore, black freshman enrollments are up nearly 40 percent from a year ago.

Valerie Gregory, an admissions officer at the University of Virginia, told JBHE that the university now begins to contact prospective black students as early as 10th grade. The university has sought to expand its black applicant pool so that it has more qualified black students from which to choose members of its entering class. This strategy has been successful. The number of blacks who have applied to the university increased from 1,074 in 2005 to 1,425 this year.