National Institute on Aging

Caltech Has Climbed Aboard the Diversity Bandwagon and Has the Numbers to Prove It

JBHE has conducted an annual survey on the number of Black students in the entering classes of the nation’s top-ranked research universities for nearly 30 years. On many occasions, the number of Black students in the first-year class at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena could have been counted on one hand. On many other occasions, Caltech chose not to respond to the JBHE survey.

But now Caltech has made substantial progress. The university reports that for students who have committed to this fall’s entering class 41 percent self-identify as coming from historically minoritized groups. That figure includes 33 Black or African American first-year students. This is the largest number of Black first-year students in Caltech’s history.

Students from underrepresented groups account for 39 percent of entering graduate students. This includes 21 Black or African American graduate students. Both are record numbers of Caltech.

“As a community, we have taken an important step forward,” said Thomas F. Rosenbaum, president of the California Institute of Technology. “Insight and leadership from students, tireless work of staff and faculty, and both divisional and centrally supported programmatic innovations were vital to our success in attracting exceptional scholars to Caltech. The progress we have achieved as a community is gratifying, but it is only the first step in a concerted, long-term effort.”


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