University of Virginia Is Making Progress in Increasing Black Students

Each fall JBHE conducts its annual survey of Black students at the nation’s leading research universities. We began conducting these surveys a quarter century ago. For the first five years of this annual survey, the University of Virginia had the highest percentage of Black first-year students among the nation’s elite research institutions each year. But for the past two decades, the University of Virginia has never regained the top position in our survey.

In fact, there were some years, where the University of Virginia’s percentage of Black entering students was far down in the rankings. But in recent years, the university has regained its momentum toward the top. Since 2012, the number of Black students in the entering class at the University of Virginia is up 41.5 percent. In 2012, Blacks and biracial students with African American heritage made up 7.1 percent of the first-year students. This year the figure is 9.1 percent.

The University of Virginia received 2,217 applications from African American students in 2017. This is 600 more than was the case in 2012. A third of all Black students who applied to the university were offered admission.

Gregory Roberts, dean of admission at the University of Virginia stated the “over the past five years, the Office of Admission has built an aggressive recruitment and outreach program designed to identify, support, and encourage prospective underserved and underrepresented students and families. We are proud of our efforts and recent success and we’re thrilled that underserved and underrepresented students see the University as a place where they will be welcomed and supported, and inspired and challenged.”

Dean Roberts continued by saying that “we are not satisfied. We believe we can build on our success and further diversify the university undergraduate student body. We look forward to the challenge and are eager to work together as a community to attract and enroll students who will shape this university for years to come.”

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Comments (3)

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  1. Chris says:

    Why not just recruit the best students period? Skin color should not be a consideration.

  2. James Grogan says:

    This is an absolutely confusing article. What is an energetic arm-breaking self-patting on the back in essence looks like an exposure of failure on the part of Greg Roberts and the dept of admissions. The black population is reported to be ~13.3% of the total US population. The first year class was 9.1% black, an increase over 2012’s 7.1%. That looks good until you read that only 1/3 of the 2017 black applicants were accepted. A tremendously high 2/3s didn’t get accepted!

    So one has to conclude that the Admissions Committee selected other qualified non-blacks over qualified black applicants, or that Roberts’ and the UVA DoA efforts of an “aggressive recruitment and outreach program designed to identify, support, and encourage prospective under served and underrepresented students and families” resulted in a significantly high number of under-qualified students applying for admission. If the former, the process still isn’t working properly; if the latter, improvements in Roberts et al placing a greater number of qualified blacks in the queue is required.

    • Ben says:

      This was a silly comment James. The overall admissions rate at UVA is 27 percent. If the black admissions rate is 33 percent, that means it is the opposite of a “tremendously high” 67 percent who do not make the cut.

      UVA is just a tremendously competitive place to get into as a result of its national stature, and its well-known status in academic circles as arguably the top public university in our nation.

      They just don’t take a lot of people no matter what color they are.

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