Howard Is 1st in Degrees To Blacks, Survey Finds

By Mark Pitsch — May 13, 1992 3 min read

Howard University, the nation’s largest four-year predominantly black postsecondary-education institution, awarded the most undergraduate degrees to blacks during the 1988-89 academic year, according to a new survey released last week.

The University of Maryland, meanwhile, was the top degree producer for blacks among all predominantly white colleges, the survey found.

Conducted by Black Issues in Higher Education, a weekly journal based in Fairfax, Va., the survey is the most comprehensive statistical report on degrees conferred to minority students, according to the journal’s publisher, Frank L. Matthews.

“This statistical report is destined to become higher education’s measuring tape,’' he said.

The study found that, at Howard, 744 baccalaureate degrees conferred after the 1989 spring semester--85.8 percent of all degrees awarded--went to black students.

The University of Maryland, meanwhile, awarded 286 degrees to African-Americans that year, the study said.

University of Maryland officials attributed its success to early-intervention, mentoring, and other programs targeted at minority populations; a scholarship program--currently the subject of litigation--that provides scholarships to blacks; and an existing “critical mass’’ of black students.

Marie Davidson, the executive assistant to President William E. Kirwan, said the institution also has “a cadre of very dedicated people who have worked very diligently to increase the number of black students who have been recruited to the campus, who have been retained at the campus, and who have graduated.’'

Drawn from data from federal and private sources, the Black Issues survey, in addition to ranking the top 100 degree producers for blacks, also lists the top 50 degree producers for blacks from predominantly white schools, the top schools conferring degrees to other minority groups, and the top fields of study for minority students during the 1988-89 academic year.

It does not, however, offer an institutional ranking according to the number of minority students recruited, retained, and graduated.

Black Doctorates Up

The survey results were issued the same week that the National Research Council released data showing that, for the first time since 1977, the number of black students earning doctoral degrees is increasing.

The N.R.C. said 933 blacks earned doctoral degrees in 1991, compared with 897 in 1990 and 821 in 1989. That amounts to an increase of 13 percent between 1989 and 1991, although an N.R.C. official noted that the increases are partly attributable to more aggressive follow-up efforts by researchers in identifying the number of doctorates awarded.

In the Black Issues survey, the University of Maryland ranked 12th among all institutions in graduating black students. The next two highest-ranking predominantly white schools were Rutgers, the flagship state university in New Jersey, with 255, and Philadelphia’s Temple University, with 254.

Among all schools, they ranked 16th and 17th, respectively.

Four Puerto Rican universities were ranked among the top five in graduating the most Hispanic students, while Florida International University, ranking fourth, was the highest-ranking institution in the United States.

For Asians, the highest-ranking degree-granting university was the University of Hawaii, followed by the University of California at Berkeley.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University conferred the most undergraduate degrees to American Indians, while Northeastern State University, also in Oklahoma, ranked second.

Among other findings, the survey also reported that:

  • Columbia University, with 102, was the highest doctoral-degree producer over all for minorities, while Clark-Atlanta University ranked highest for blacks. Columbia ranked highest for Hispanics, Berkeley ranked highest for Asians, and Harvard University ranked highest for American Indians.
  • Clark-Atlanta awarded the most doctoral degrees in education to blacks, Texas A&M University awarded the most education doctorates to Hispanics, and Columbia conferred the most education doctorates to Asians.
  • Education ranked as the top field of study, based on the number of students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, for blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians. Education ranked fourth among Asians.

Copies of the rankings can be obtained from Cox, Matthews, and Associates Inc., 10520 Warwick Ave., Suite B8, Fairfax, Va. 22030; telephone (703) 385-2981.

A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 1992 edition of Education Week as Howard Is 1st in Degrees To Blacks, Survey Finds