Minority Report

American universities are accepting more minorities than ever. Graduating
them is another matter.

"If you look at who enters college, it now looks like America," says Hilary
Pennington, director of postsecondary programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, which has closely studied enrollment patterns in higher
education. "But if you look at who walks across the stage for a diploma,
it's still largely the white, upper-income population."

In 2007 (the last year for which Education Trust, a nonprofit advocacy
group, has comparative statistics) the University of Wisconsin--Madison-one
of the top five or so "public Ivies"-graduated 81 percent of its white
students within six years, but only 56 percent of its blacks. At
less-selective state schools, the numbers get worse. During the same time
frame, the University of Northern Iowa graduated 67 percent of its white
students, but only 39 percent of its blacks. Community colleges have low
graduation rates generally-but rock-bottom rates for minorities. A recent
review of California community colleges found that while a third of the
Asian students picked up their degrees, only 15 percent of African-Americans
did so as well.

"Higher education has been able to duck this issue for years, particularly
the more selective schools, by saying the onus is on the individual
student," says Pennington of the Gates Foundation. "If they fail, it's their
fault." Some critics blame affirmative action-students admitted with lower
test scores and grades from shaky high schools often struggle at elite
schools. But a bigger problem may be that poor high schools often send their
students to colleges for which they are, in educators' jargon,
"undermatched": they could get into more elite, richer schools, but instead
go to community colleges and low-rated state schools that lack the resources
to help them. Some schools out for profit cynically jack up tuitions and
count on student loans and federal aid to foot the bill-knowing full well
that the students won't make it. "Colleges know that a lot of kids they take
will end up in remedial classes, for which they'll get no college credit and
then they'll flunk out," says Amy Wilkins of the Education Trust. "The
school gets to keep the money, but the kid leaves with loads of debt and no
degree and no ability to get a better job. Colleges are not holding up their

A college education is getting ever more expensive. Since 1982 tuitions have
been rising at roughly twice the rate of inflation. More and more
scholarships are based on merit, not need. Poorer students are not always
the best-informed consumers. Often they wind up deeply in debt or simply
unable to pay after a year or two and must drop out.

There once was a time when universities took a perverse pride in their
attrition rates. Professors would begin the year by saying, "Look to the
right and look to the left. One of you is not going to be here by the end of
the year." But such a Darwinian spirit is beginning to give way as at least
a few colleges face up to the graduation gap.

State and federal governments could sharpen that focus everywhere by broadly
publishing minority graduation rates. (For now students and counselors must
find their way to the Web site of the Educational Trust, which compares data
obtained from schools by the federal government.)

Full article source:

Rootage:  Google News Alert for: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation application
New Gates Grants for Remedial Ed at Community Colleges

=DKF1IFhABmQ&usg=AFQjCNGxbToS1mggx_271PyOKeH01EBL4g>  Report (link to full
"If you look at who enters college, it now looks like America," says Hilary
Pennington, director of postsecondary programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates





Dan Kern

CC12, Reading

East Central College

1964 Prairie Dell Road

Union, MO  63084-4344

Phone Direct:  636-584-6607

Fax:  (636) 584-0513

Email:  [log in to unmask]

ECC main phones:  636-583-5193 & -5195

ECC web address:


Veterans Day 2009:


Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You
may both be wrong. (Dandamis, sage [4c BCE]) 

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is
it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks
the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a
position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it
because one's conscience tells one that it is right. (Martin Luther King,

Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner. Put

yourself in his place so that you may understand what he learns and

the way he understands it. (Kierkegaard)


To freely bloom - that is my definition of success. -Gerry Spence, lawyer
(b. 1929)    [Benjamin would be proud. I think, I question, I bloom.]


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