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Minority College Enrollment Up 5 Percent in 1994

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Minority-student enrollment at U.S. colleges increased nearly 5 percent in 1994, almost double the rate of the previous year. But, a new report says, there are still significant gaps between minority enrollments and those of white students.

The 14th annual edition of "Minorities in Higher Education," released last week in Washington by the American Council on Education, notes that while roughly 23 percent of the nation's high school graduates are black, Hispanic, or American Indian, minority students make up only 16 percent of the enrollment at four-year colleges.

Writing in a foreword to the latest report, Robert H. Atwell, the president of the ACE, an umbrella group representing higher education, says "substantial progress has been made in recent years in advancing minority participation and success" in colleges and universities.

But, Mr. Atwell adds, "the picture is decidedly mixed, and the gap between minorities and whites on almost all measures is significant."

Finishing High School

Total higher education enrollment fell 7 percent in the 1994-95 school year because of a decline in the number of college-age people. But minority enrollment rose 4.9 percent, or 159,000 students, nearly double the rate of increase the previous year, according to the report.

College enrollment of black students grew by 2.5 percent last year, and black enrollment has grown by 16 percent since 1990, the report says.

The report shows, however, that blacks and Hispanics continue to trail whites in completing high school.

In 1994, the high school completion rate was 77 percent for blacks and 56.6 percent for Hispanics; the rate for whites was 82.6 percent.

But the study also found that high school completion rates increased about 2 percent for blacks in 1994 from the previous year, with both boys and girls graduating at higher rates. The graduation rate for black girls was 80 percent in 1994, the highest completion rate since 1987.

Girls continue to complete high school at higher rates than boys, the report says, regardless of their ethnic or racial background. Among blacks, there was a difference of 6.3 percentage points between men and women in the graduation rate. Among Hispanics, the difference was 6 points, and among whites, the difference was 3.9 percent.

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