Minorities Underrepresented In Graduate Schools

Minorities Underrepresented In Graduate Schools

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
April 24, 2009

A report released this week by the Council of Graduate Schools indicated a lack of racial diversity in graduate schools throughout the country.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the study, called "Broadening Participation in Graduate Education," noted that Hispanic and African-American students are underrepresented in graduate schools, and particularly in science and engineering. In the latter fields, each group made up less than 10 percent of graduate students and less than 5 percent of Ph.D.'s.

"Increasing diversity and enhancing inclusiveness efforts are essential as we work to make graduate education a viable option for a growing number of Americans," said Debra W. Stewart, CGS president, in a press release.

The report recommended several measures to help increase diversity, including expanding fellowships, providing loan forgiveness, and increasing support and resources in graduate schools.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education quoted Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who noted that historically black colleges and universities play an invaluable role in preparing African-American students for graduate studies. John Slaughter, president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Education, agreed.

"Is it really a wonder for eight of the top 10 institutions that produce the most African-American graduates who go on to receive doctorates from this nation's finest graduate schools are HBCUs?" Slaughter asked. He noted that minority students are deterred from graduate studies because they encounter difficulty finding dissertation advisers and mentors, and often feel unwelcome on campus.

By contrast, he said, "Black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions and some predominately white colleges have programs that are characterized by close relationships with faculty and students, exposure to research and the faculty way of life."

In a related story, U.S. News & World Report writes that business schools are also actively pursuing female and minority candidates for admission in an effort to increase diversity. The article notes that Hispanics, American Indians and African-Americans comprise less than 10 percent of the students in the top 30 business schools, even though they make up roughly 28 percent of the U.S. population.

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