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Black enrollment in colleges and universities increased between 1986 and 1988, reversing a decline that had been evident through much of the 1980's, according to an analysis by the National Institute of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Using new data from the U.S. Education Department, the institute found that enrollment of blacks increased by 7.1 percent from 1986 to 1988 at private, nonprofit institutions. (The institute is the research arm of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.)

The data also showed that enrollment of black students increased by 0.2 percent at public colleges and universities during the two-year period.

Overall enrollment of minority students increased by 5.3 percent at independent institutions during the period, and by 4.5 percent at public institutions, the data showed.

Enrollment of Asian students increased by 22.3 percent at private colleges and universities and by 10.5 percent at public institutions. Native American enrollment increased by 9.2 percent at private institutions and 3.6 percent at public institutions.

Enrollment of Hispanic students increased by 7.5 percent at public institutions, but dropped by 4.4 percent at private institutions, due largely to enrollment declines at private universities in Puerto Rico, the report said.

The report, "Minority Enrollment in Independent Colleges and Universities, 1986-88," is available free of charge from the National Institute of Independent Colleges and Universities, 122 C St. N.W., Suite 750, Washington, D.C. 20001-2190.

The higher-education community must continue to make minority achievement a top priority, according to a task force of the Education Commission of the States.

The National Task Force for Minority Achievement in Higher Education, formed by the ecs last year, is a 25-member bipartisan group of education and political leaders established to make recommendations for increasing minority participation and achievement in postsecondary education. Govs. Garrey Carruthers of New Mexico and Richard Celeste of Ohio are chairmen of the panel.

The panel's first set of recommendations, which focused on colleges and universities, calls for higher-education leaders to make minority achievement their top priority; eliminate barriers to minority student participation; create a campus environment that supports minorities; and develop curricula, learning-assistance programs, and evaluation techniques that recognize and support a diverse student population.

Future task-force recommendations will focus on the states and on the state-federal partnership.

More information on the task-force recommendations is available from the ecs, 707 17th St., Suite 2700, Denver, Colo. 80202-3427.

A trial is scheduled to begin June 1 to determine whether the Texas higher-education system discriminates against Hispanic students in south Texas.

Nine organizations and 21 individuals sued the higher-education system and state officials two years ago, charging that funding practices discriminate against Hispanic students in the Texas border area.

Last month, the judge in the case certified the suit as a class action on behalf of all past, present, and future Hispanic students in the area.

The suit seeks to require the state to place more higher-education programs and facilities in areas where Mexican-Americans live, and to develop fair admissions policies and recruitment and retention programs for Mexican-Americans.

Enrollment at women's colleges has risen by 3.9 percent since last year, according to a survey of 59 institutions by the Women's College Coalition, an organization representing 70 of the country's 94 women's colleges.

From 1984 to 1989, enrollment increased by 10 percent, the survey showed. Much of the growth has come in part-time students, whose enrollment increased by 16 percent over the five-year period. Enrollment of full-time undergraduates increased by 3.68 percent from 1984 to 1989.

The college-tuition spiral of the 1980's may ease slightly in the 1990's, according to a report from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, but increases are still likely to outpace inflation.

The rate of increase in tuition did not come down as fast as the Consumer Price Index because students are paying a larger share of the costs of their education, said the economist Carol Frances in the report.

The share of costs covered by non-tuition revenue has declined, the report says, so the share of costs covered by tuition has had to increase, driving tuition up faster than the rate of inflation.

In the 1990's, the report says, tuition costs will be determined by a variety of factors, including economic trends, demographics, political choices, and competition for students. The 49-page study explores these factors and issues in depth.

Copies of "What Factors Affect College Tuition? A Guide To Facts and Issues," are available for $18 each from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Publications, One Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036.--mw

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