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New federal data indicate a jump in the number of minority college students and in the proportion of recent minority high-school graduates attending college.

Black enrollment in higher education increased by some 5,000 students from 1984 to 1986, marking the first time since 1980 that it did not decline, the Education Department reported last week.

Total postsecondary enrollment reached a record 12.5 million students in 1986, according to the preliminary report by the department's center for education statistics.

White enrollment increased slightly during the two-year period, it says. But because Hispanic and Asian enrollments climbed relatively sharply, it notes, both white and black students represented smaller proportions of the postsecondary-student population in 1986 than in 1984.

In addition to enrollment statistics gathered by the department, the report cites rates of participation in higher education based on Census Bureau data.

According to those statistics, the college-going rate for black high-school graduates between the ages of 18 and 24 rose from 26.1 percent in 1985 to 28.6 percent in 1986--the first such increase since 1981.

The enrollment rate for Hispanic high-school graduates in the same age group showed a comparable increase, rising from 26.9 percent to 29.4 percent, the study found. That rise halted a two-year decline.

The rate for white graduates dipped slightly between 1985 and 1986, the report says.

Overall, 34 percent of 18-to-24-year-old high-school graduates were enrolled in postsecondary institutions in 1986, it notes, up from 33.7 percent in 1985.

Two-year institutions enrolled 37 percent of all postsecondary students in 1986, up from 35 percent in 1984, according to department statistics. Such institutions enrolled 47 percent of all minority students in higher education in 1986, a 2 percent increase from 1984.--jm

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