The meaning of the numbers – Black Issues in Higher Education’s sixth annual Top 100 rankings of minority college graduates - Higher Education

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The meaning of the numbers – Black Issues in Higher Education’s sixth annual Top 100 rankings of minority college graduates

by Victor M.H. Borden

Objective

The analysis of degrees conferred to students of color in the United
States continues this year with the simple objective of bringing
national attention to those institutions that contribute, in raw
numbers, to the educational attainment of members of ethnic and racial
minorities.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Black Issues In Higher
Education has published these lists, which follow the same basic format
as in prior years. The lists reflect degree production during the
1994-95 academic year, including all associate, baccalaureate, first
professional, master’s, and doctoral degrees that were awarded by
accredited colleges and universities in the nation’s fifty 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. For reasons of space, only the
associate and baccalaureate lists are in this issue. Graduate and
professional rankings will be carried in the next issue.

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 fifty states and
Washington, D.C. 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 astute reader may note that we have skipped a year in this
series. Last year, we published the numbers that derived from the
1992-93 IPEDS completers survey. This year we have moved ahead to the
1994-95 dataset. In addition, we are able to provide preliminary
figures for institutions for which 1995-96 data are currently available.

At the time these lists were generated, the 1994-5 data were still
in a preliminary release. Our analysis showed however, that the vast
majority of the accredited institutions included in this analysis had
completed all required forms with one notable exception: Howard
University. Therefore, we decided to use the more up-to-date figures
for 1994-95 with the manual addition of Howard University derived from
the hard copy of their completed survey.

Analysis of the 1995-96 preliminary data showed far more missing
entries. We decided to include these figures where available as an
additional piece of information, but we used the 1994-95 figures as the
basis of selection and ranking.

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 U.S. citizens or
permanent residents.

There are 100 institutions on the list which combine all the
minority groups by degree level. The lists for specific minority groups
and for specific disciplines contains as many as fifty 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 ninety-eight ranked slot, then the list includes all
of them bringing the total number of institutions listed to 103. If,
however, ten institutions are tied for the ninety-eight rank, all are
excluded for reasons of space and so the list falls short at
ninety-seven.

A specific list may also be short because only a small number of
degrees are conferred to that minority 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 included 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 1994-95 academic year. Each entry lists: the institution name;
state of location; number of degrees conferred to women, men and both
genders combined (the ranking criteria); a percentage column; and the
total number of degrees conferred in 1995-96, if available.

The 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 fifty bachelors of business administration
degrees and five 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.

For the first time, with this year’s analysis, I am providing some
additional tables that focus on the Top 100 institutions in
baccalaureate degrees conferred to African Americans. For all of these
tables, I have listed historically Black colleges and universities
(HBCUs) separately from traditionally white institutions (TWIs). The
first column of each table reminds the reader how each institution
ranks overall. It is immediately notable from these tables that the top
ten ranked institutions, and seventeen out of the top twenty are in the
HBCU group, even though the overall list contains only forty-two HBCUs.

The first of these tables shows five year trends in degrees
conferred for the period 1990-91 through 1994-95. The last column of
this table indicates the average annual percentage change over the
five-year period. For example, the dramatic near three-fold increase in
degrees awarded by Florida A&M that tops the list yields an 27.5%
annual average percent change. The bottom row of each section of the
table shows the overall totals for the HBCU and TWI groups
respectively. It is quite interesting to note that the forty-two HBCUs
conferred a larger number of degrees across this period but the rate of
increase in baccalaureate degrees conferred to African Americans by
these institutions is quite similar: 3.3 percent for the HBCUs, and 3.4
percent for the TWIs.

The second set of additional tables compares the number and percent
of African American baccalaureate degree recipients, undergraduate
students, and faculty at these Top 100 institutions. The 1994-95 degree
completions data is here compared with the latest available federal
data on enrollments (Fall 1995) and faculty (1993-94). Among the HBCU
institutions, the proportion of African American undergraduate students
is higher by an average of 27 percentage points than the percent of
African American faculty (87%. compared to 60% overall). However, it is
encouraging to note that with only six exceptions – and only one
notable exception – the majority of faculty at these HBCUs is African
American.

In the TWI list the percentage of African American baccalaureate
degree recipients also tracks closely with the proportion of African
Americans in the undergraduate student body. But there is a slightly
larger gap overall with only 10 percent degree recipients, compared to
13 percent enrollment. However, the proportion of African American
faculty at these institutions is, with few exceptions, very low,
averaging only 4 percent. Only seven of these fifty-eight institutions
have double-digit percentages of Black faculty. Furthermore, only one
exceeds 20 percent an institution at which 60 percent of the student
body is African American.

In general, the overall relationship between institution size (as
indicated by number of students, number of faculty or total number of
degrees conferred) and degrees conferred to African Americans is
attenuated by differences between HBCU and TWI institutions. That is,
the relatively smaller HBCUs graduate relatively larger numbers of
African Americans than the larger TWIs. However within category,
institution size strongly predicts the number of Black graduates.

Within HBCUs, the percentage of African American students does not
correlate significantly with the number of degrees conferred to Blacks.
Nor does the number of Black undergraduates correlate with the
percentage of degrees conferred to Blacks. However, the proportion and
number of Black undergraduates correlate with the percentage of degrees
conferred to Blacks.

The proportion and number of African American undergraduates does
relate to degrees conferred to African Americans among the TWIs. It
appears that HBCUs as a group have attained a threshold of Black
student participation above which changes in percentages or numbers
matter less. Among TWIs however, the proportion of Black students
influences the number who graduate and the number of Black
undergraduates influences the proportion of Black graduates.

Analysis performed by

Victor M. H. Borden, Ph.D. Director, Information Management and
Institutional Research Assistant Professor of Psychology Indiana
University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

COPYRIGHT 1997 Cox, Matthews & Associates



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