Five-year trends in minority degree production – Special Report Top 100 Degree Producers - Higher Education

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Five-year trends in minority degree production – Special Report Top 100 Degree Producers

by Victor M.H. Bordern

For the past five years, I have prepared listings of the colleges and universities across the United States that confer the most degrees to students of color for Black Issues In Higher Education.

Against a backdrop of rapid social change and the increasing economic importance of a college degree, I researched this national degree-completion data over a five-year period from 1988-89 through 1992-93 in search of change. During this period, the total number of annual degrees conferred, from associate to doctorate, increased by just over 17 percent — from approximately 1.9 million to 2.2 million. This works out to an, average annual percentage increase of 4.1 percent.

During this five-year period, the average annual percentage increase in degrees conferred to minorities and non-U.S. citizens has more than doubled the growth rate among degrees conferred to white students as illustrated in Figure 1. The minority growth rate ranged from 7.7 percent annually for African Americans to 9.3 percent for Hispanics. However, as Figure 2 illustrates, these percentage increases have not altered significantly the gap between the trend lines.


The modest effect of this higher growth rate in degrees conferred to minorities is further demonstrated by examining the distribution of degrees by race a the beginning and end of this time period. Table 2 provides this comparison.

Table 2. Distribution of Degrees by Race, 1988-89 vs. 1992-93

Racial/Ethnic Group         1988-89   1992-93   Change

Non-resident Alien            3.9%      4.5%     0.6%
Black, Non-Hispanic           5.7%      6.5%     0.8%
American Indian/
Alaskan Native                0.5%      0.5%     0.1%
Asian or Pacific Islander     3.4%      3.9%     0.6%
Hispanic                      4.1%      5.0%     0.9%
Total Minority               13.7%     15.9%     2.2%
White, non-Hispanic          78.8%     76.3%    -2.5%
Unknown                       3.7%      3.3%    -0.4%

The percentage of all degrees going to white students has decreased from just under 79 percent to just over 76 percent, while the percentage awarded to minorities has increased from about 14 percent to 16 percent.

With the aggregate changes in distribution looking fairly modest, I explored change in distribution among various types of institutions. Table 3 illustrates these differences according to three institutional characteristics: affiliation (public, private-non-sectarian, private-sectarian); level (4-year or more vs. 2-year) and Carnegie classification.


The first column of Table 3 shows that there was very little change in the distribution of total degrees conferred across institutional types. For only one factor did the distribution change by more than one percentage point: 2-year institutions picked up 1.2 percentage points in degree share compared to 4-year colleges and universities.

Change Among Different Types of Institutions

There were larger shifts in minority degree production by institutional type. For example, African-American degree production shifted toward public instituitions and away from private, non-sectarian ones, On the other hand, Asian-American degree production shifted away from private, sectarian colleges and universities and toward public and private non-sectarian ones. Throughout this period, larger percentages of Native Americans completed their college studies at public institutions compared to any other racial/ ethnic group.

Looking at degree distribution by Carnegie classification reveals less about shifts in racial/ethnic distribu-tion over the five years and more about sustained differences. Overall, more than 60 percent of all degrees are offered in relatively equal proportions by three types of institutions: Research I, Master’s I and Associate of Arts. This has not changed over the five-year period. Furthermore, all minorities combined reflect this same overall pattern. There are some clear differences among minority groups. For example, proportionately fewer African-American and Hispanic students graduate from Research I institutions (around 15 percent compared to 20 percent overall) while higher percentages of Asian Americans (33 percent) graduated from Research I institutions. It also appears that Native Americans are almost non-existent among the graduating class of Research I institutions. On the other hand, nearly one-quarter of all degrees conferred to African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans come from associate degree-granting institutions.

Changes at Specific Colleges and Universities

In many ways, the analysis of `groups’ of institutions hides more than it reveals. To conclude this exploration of five-year trends in minority degrees, I decided to end where the last five years of this analysis began: degree production at individual institutions. In particular, I was interested in which institutions have consistently awarded the highest number of degrees to minorities, and specifically African Americans?

The most direct answer to this question is presented in the accompanying list in Table 4, which shows the top 50 institutions according to the average number of degrees of all types (associate, bachelor’s, master’s, first professional and doctorate) awarded annually to African Americans between 1988-89 and 1992-93, Howard University tops this list with an average of nearly 1,500 degrees over this five-year period. Many of the top 1.0 institutions are historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The top 50 tend to be the larger colleges and universities. It is important to remember, however, that many small institutions have been fulfilling the increasing educational aspirations of minority students.

Table 4. Top 50 Institutions, Average Annual Degrees Conferred to African Americans: 1988-89 through 1992-93 (Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, First Professional and Doctoral combined)

Rank Institution                             State   American  Total
1  Howard University                          DC       1493    1939
2  Southern University-Baton Rouge            LA        937    1087
3  Hampton University                         VA        851     912
4  North Carolina A & T University            NC        771     967
5  University of The District of Columbia     DC        770     876
6  Grambling State University                 LA        716     788
7  Jackson State University                   MS        702     771
8  Florida A & M University                   FL        674     853
9  Chicago State University                   IL        664     877
10 Wayne State University                     MI        619    5273
11 Miami-Dade Community College               FL        610    4773
12 Norfolk State University                   VA        595     803
13 Prairie View A & M University              TX        592     737
14 North Carolina Central University          NC        586     758
15 Temple University                          PA        584    5651
16 South Carolina State University            SC        558     605
17 University of South Carolina at Columbia   SC        507    5386
18 Morgan State University                    MD        495     574
19 Clark Atlanta University                   GA        491     567
20 University of Maryland-College Park        MD        489    7354
21 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor           MI        486    9502
22 Tennessee State University                 TN        484     941
23 University of Florida                      FL        480    9460
24 Southern Illinois University-Carbondale    IL        456    6328
25 Texas Southern University                  TX        438     805
26 Rutgers University-New Brunswick           NJ        434    6882
27 Tuskegee University                        AL        426     486
28 Wayne County Community College             MI        420     641
29 Michigan State University                  MI        415    9639
30 CUNY Borough of Manhattan CC               NY        410    1214
31 Georgia State University                   GA        403    4020
32 Virginia State University                  VA        400     465
33 University of California-Los Angeles       CA        399    8501
34 University of California-Berkeley          CA        390    8647
35 Ohio State University-Main Campus          OH        384   10923
36 Alabama A & M University                   AL        382     627
37 CUNY City College                          NY        378    1956
38 Webster University                         MO        374    3053
38 Morehouse College                          GA        374     384
40 Memphis State University                   TN        372    2943
41 Florida State University                   FL        371    7004
42 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill   NC        370    5752
42 Cuyahoga Community College District        OH        370    1587
44 Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus     NY        369    1098
45 College of New Rochelle                    NY        358     866
46 New York University                        NY        357    8208
47 University of Virginia-Main Campus         VA        351    5070
48 Alabama State University                   AL        349     371
48 Xavier University                          LA        349     428
50 Community College of Philadelphia          PA        345     892

                                                        Annual %
Rank Institution                               %        Change
1  Howard University                          77.0        5.8
2  Southern University-Baton Rouge            86.1        1.8
3  Hampton University                         93.2        6.0
4  North Carolina A & T University            79.7        6.3
5  University of The District of Columbia     87.8       -0.6
6  Grambling State University                 90.8       10.2
7  Jackson State University                   90.9        2.9
8  Florida A & M University                   79.0       20.1
9  Chicago State University                   75.7        4.4
10 Wayne State University                     11.7       14.3
11 Miami-Dade Community College               12.7        8.0
12 Norfolk State University                   74.1        8.8
13 Prairie View A & M University              80.3        6.5
14 North Carolina Central University          77.3        8.0
15 Temple University                          10.3        6.5
16 South Carolina State University            92.1       -0.5
17 University of South Carolina at Columbia    9.4        2.7
18 Morgan State University                    86.3        6.5
19 Clark Atlanta University                   86.4       35.1
20 University of Maryland-College Park         6.6        4.4
21 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor            5.1       10.8
22 Tennessee State University                 51.5       -0.8
23 University of Florida                       5.0        3.7
24 Southern Illinois University-Carbondale     7.2        2.8
25 Texas Southern University                  54.5          .
26 Rutgers University-New Brunswick            6.3        6.4
27 Tuskegee University                        87.5       11.1
28 Wayne County Community College             65.5       17.6
29 Michigan State University                   4.3        5.1
30 CUNY Borough of Manhattan CC               33.7
31 Georgia State University                   10.0        7.7
32 Virginia State University                  86.0        8.1
33 University of California-Los Angeles        4.6        9.0
34 University of California-Berkeley           4.5        6.9
35 Ohio State University-Main Campus           3.5       11.4
36 Alabama A & M University                   60.9        6.8
37 CUNY City College                          19.3          .
38 Webster University                         12.2        7.5
38 Morehouse College                          97.4       18.9
40 Memphis State University                   12.6        2.6
41 Florida State University                    5.3       10.7
42 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill    6.4        5.3
42 Cuyahoga Community College District        23.3       -9.5
44 Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus     33.5       -5.0
45 College of New Rochelle                    41.3        1.6
46 New York University                         4.3          .
47 University of Virginia-Main Campus          6.9       12.8
48 Alabama State University                   94.2        0.6
48 Xavier University                          81.5       18.3
50 Community College of Philadelphia          38.7        7.3

All charts are based on Black Issues analysis of U.S. Department of Education data.

A Note on the Methodology


For the fifth consecutive year, Black Issues In Higher Education lists the top minority degree-producing colleges and universities across the United States. These lists reflect degree production during the 1992-93 academic year, including all associate, baccalaureate, first professional, master’s, and doctoral degrees that were awarded by accredited colleges and universities in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. The institutions are ranked according to the total number of degrees awarded to minority students across all disciplines and in specific disciplines. Excluded from this analysis are colleges and universities in Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and other commonwealths and protectorates, as well as postsecondary institutions within the 50 states and Washington DC that are not accredited at the college level by an agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.

Data Source

The data for this study come from the United States Department of Education. It is collected through the integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) program completers survey conducted by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI). The survey requests data on the number of degrees and other formal awards conferred in academic, vocational, and continuing professional education programs. Institutions report their data according to the Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) codes developed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). CIP codes provide a common set of categories allowing comparisons across all colleges and universities.

The 1992-93 Survey was completed by 3,602 institutions that met the conditions for inclusion in the analysis as stated above. NCES reports a 96.9 percent survey response rate among institutions of this type. Some college and universities report their data as part of a multi-campus system.

A student’s minority status is typically determined by a self-reported response from the student during his or her college career. Students are offered a set of categories from which to choose. The number and labels of these categories differ from one institution to another. However, when reporting enrollment or degrees to the federal government, institutions must “map” their categories to the standard federal categories: non-resident alien; Black, non-Hispanic; American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Hispanic; White, non-Hispanic; and race/ ethnicity unknown. The “minority” categories — Black, non-Hispanic; American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; and Hispanic — include only U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

There are 100 institutions on the lists which combine all the minority groups by degree level. The lists for specific minority groups and for specific disciplines contain as many as 50 institutions each. A given list may have slightly fewer or more institutions because of ties in the rankings. For example, if there are four institutions that fall into the 98th ranked slot, then the list includes all of them, bringing the total number of institutions listed to 102. If, however, 10 institutions are tied in the 98th rank, all are excluded and so the list falls short Lit 97,

A specific list may also be short because only a small number of degrees are conferred to that minority group within that discipline and/or degree level. For example, the list pertaining to doctoral degrees awarded to Native American students includes only nine institutions. We limited the lists to include institutions that awarded at least three degrees in each category.

Within each listing category (combination of degree level, minority group and discipline), the colleges and universities were ranked from high to low according to the total number of degrees conferred during the 1992-93 academic year. Each list includes the institution name, state of location, number of degrees conferred to women, men and total (the ranking criteria) and two percentage columns.

The first percentage column indicates how the number of minority degree recipients compares to all degree recipients at that institution within that discipline. For example, in the listing of baccalaureates conferred to African Americans in Business and Management, the percent indicates the proportion of all Business and Management baccalaureate degree recipients at that institution who were African American. If a particular college awarded 50 bachelors of business administration degrees and 5 recipients were African American, then the percent column would indicate 10.0. In other words, the percentage indicates the minority group representation in that particular category.

The second percentage column, added to this year’s listings, indicates the average annual percentage change in degrees conferred to that specific minority group and within that specific discipline. This percentage is only available for institutions that were included in the IPEDS database for the 1988-89 and 1992-93 surveys. As with financial interest rates, one can calculate an average annual percentage rate (APR) of change using only the baseline and terminal year data. For example, an institution that increased degree production from 100 to 200 in a five year period would have an average annual increase of 18.9 percent.

In the lists of baccalaureate degrees conferred, we have included a third percentage column to indicate retention. Those figures are provided by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and represent slightly different meanings for Division I schools and Divisions II and III. Division I reports its four-year graduation rate, which is what we have included, and Divisions II and III report their freshman retention rate — that is, the percentage of freshmen who enroll the following year. Division II and III schools are marked with an f.

With each year’s top 100 listings, I have always underscored the simplicity of this analysis. There has never been any attempt to suggest that these data indicate anything about the quality of an institution or the educational experience it offers. On the other hand, a college degree is becoming an increasingly important ingredient for economic mobility. While it is quite heartening to note that more than 1.5 million degrees were awarded to students of color during the five years of, degree production chronicled by this publication, this represents only 15 percent of the 10.3 million total degrees awarded — a far smaller proportion than the 26 percent minority population according to the 1994 U.S. Census Bureau figures.

Table 1. Five-year Trends in Degrees Conferred by Racial/Ethnic Group, 1988-89 through 1992-93

Racial/Ethnic Group           1988-89     1989-90     1990-91

Non-Resident Alien             73,154      77,241      85,778
Black, Non-Hispanic           107,750     112,200     125,360
American Indian/
Alaskan Native                  8,616       8,965       9,937
Asian or Pacific Islander      64,186      65,623      73,813
Hispanic                       77,547      82,007      95,441
White, non-Hispanic`        1,492,613   1,529,302   1,616,249
Unknown                        70,729     105,407      74,109

Grand Total                 1,894,595   1,980,743   2,080,687

Racial/Ethnic Group            1991-92     1992-93   % Change

Non-Resident Alien              88,991      99,438       8.0%
Black, Non-Hispanic            135,031     144,878       7.7%
American Indian/
Alaskan Native                  10,807      11,805       8.2%
Asian or Pacific Islander       81,524      87,597       8.1%
Hispanic                       102,467     110,589       9.3%
White, non-Hispanic`         1,671,463   1,696,157       3.2%
Unknown                         72,937      73,734       1.0%

Grand Total                  2,163,220   2,224,198       4.1%

Note: The totals in this table may not match exactly those included in reports issued by the National Center on Educational Statistics: The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) datafiles include imputations and other rounding methods that yield slightly different totals depending on which types of records are examined. These totals are derived from the “racial/ethnic” records included in the files.


Total Minority
Associates-All Disciplines                      38
Baccalaureates-All Disciplines                  39
Masters-All Disciplines                         43
Doctoral-All Disciplines                        46
Individual Minority Groups
Baccalaureate-All Disciplines                   40
  TWIs Baccalaureates to
  African Americans                             40
  HBCUs Baccalaureates to
  African Americans                             41
Masters-All Disciplines                         44
Doctoral-All Disciplines                        47
Individual Disciplines by Minority Groups
Business and Management (Baccalaueate)          50
Communications (Baccalaueate)                   52
Education (Baccalaueate)                        54
Engineering/Comp Sci/Math (Baccalaueate)        56
Engineering/Comp Sci/Math (Master's)            58
Engineering/Comp Sci/Math (Doctoral)(*)         60
Engineering (Baccalaueate)                      61
English (Baccalaueate)                          63
Health Sciences (Baccalaueate)                  66
Life Sciences (Baccalaueate)                    68
Physical Sciences (Baccalaueate)                70

(*) Note: The number of Native Americans with Doctoral degrees in the combined field of Engineering/Computer Sciences/Math is too few to list.

KEY: % Grad  Ethnic proportion of the graduating class
             Retention data given for African American and Hispanic
             Baccalaureate degrees (pgs. 40-41).
     % Ret   Percent of the freshmen class who graduated within four
             years. (NCAA Division I data for 88-89 freshmen)
     f       Percent of freshmen who are retained to second year.
             (NCAA Division II & III data for 1993-94 freshmen
     n/a     Not available
     --      Not a member of the NCAA
     TWI     Traditionally White Institution
     HBCU    Historically Black Colleges and Universities

VICTOR M. H. BORDEN, PH.D. Director, Information Management and Institutional Research Assistant Professor of Psychology Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

COPYRIGHT 1996 Cox, Matthews & Associates

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