ENROLLMENT, RETENTION, AND GRADUATION RATE CHALLENCES FACING HBCU s AND MINOROTY INSTITUTIONS

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1 ENROLLMENT, RETENTION, AND GRADUATION RATE CHALLENCES FACING HBCU s AND MINOROTY INSTITUTIONS Michael H. Deis Professor of Management Interim Dean College of Business Clayton State University Morrow, Georgia (678) Ali Dadpay Assistant Professor of Economics & MBA Director College of Business Clayton State University Morrow, GA (678) Submitted October 12, 2012 A Paper Proposal submitted for consideration for presentation at the Southeast Decision Sciences Institute Forty-Third Annual Meeting February 20 22, 2013 Track: Ag Econ, Environmental Economics, Economics, and Finance or Innovative Education, Teaching, and Pedagogy

2 ENROLLMENT, RETNETION, AND GRADUATION RATE CHALLENGES FACING HBCU s AND MINORITY INSTITUTIONS Michael H. Deis, Clayton State University Ali Dadpay, Clayton State University ABSTRACT There is a crisis in today s educational environment that must be addressed. Given the current educational economic environment, increased emphasis is being placed on enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. The challenges and issues are prevalent at most, if not all, universities, but appear to more prevalent at minority institutions, either Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU s) or other institutions with a majority minority enrollment. This paper will focus on those issues and will attempt to answer questions relevant to regional and national trends in enrollment, retention, and graduation rates at HBCUs and other minority institutions. BACKGROUND There are currently 105 institutions considered HBCU s, both private and public, within the United States (Montgomery, 2012). Although the history of HBCU s goes back to the mid- 1800s, declining enrollment and low retention and graduation rates appear to be having increasingly detrimental effects on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU s) and other minority institutions. The implications of these changes, specifically on enrollments, need to be studied. Table 1. Enrollment in HBCU Total Enrollment Public HBCU Private HBCU , ,046 70, , ,725 75, , ,146 77,468 Recent data (list of historically black colleges and universities, n.d.) indicates that for most of the past decade the enrollment in private HBCU s has been flat and relatively constant. In fact, as of the fall, 2012, there was only one HBCU with more than 10,000 students, Florida A & M University, which had 11,180 students. Even schools such as Howard University and North Carolina University had less than 10,000 students, with 7,164 and 9,206 students, respectively (US News Rankings, 2012). Saint Philips College in San Antonio, Texas, also has just over 9,000 students. From , three of those four HBCU s with enrollments of more than 10,000 experienced a decline of 2% of their student enrollment. The exception was Florida A& M University. It should be pointed out that Black female students consistently constitute a

3 larger population of the student body at HBCU s than Black male students. Half of the students in HBCU s are Black females, and only one-third are Black male students. Reviewing NCES data one finds out that from 1990 to 2000 the enrollment in HBCU s increased by 7%, and from 2000 to 2010 the rate of increase was 18% (Table 1). It should be noted, however, that from 2000 to 2010 the enrollment in public HBCU s increased by 25%, whereas the enrollment in private HBCU s only increased by 2%. In addition, data indicated that from Fall, 2009 to Fall, 2010, enrollment in HBCU s increased by only one percent, from 322,789 to 326,614, according to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). NCES also reports that some colleges, such as West Virginia State University and Jarvis Christian College (in Texas) experienced a drop of over 20% in their enrollment from Fall, 2009 until Fall, Many schools experienced a drop of more than 10%, but most of those schools had student populations of less than A recent article on Money Watch (O Shaughnessy, L. CBS News, 10/1/12), listed 25 state universities with the highest four-year graduation rates and 25 state universities with the lowest four-year graduation rates. Of the 25 schools having the best graduation rates, none were HBCU schools. However, of the 25 schools having the lowest graduation rates, six were HBCU schools. Those schools, shown with their graduation rates, are shown in bold print in the table below. Several of the other university listed above, such as Clayton State University, have large minority student populations. Those universities have some of the same challenges as the HBCUs. In addition, one should note that the trend is not new. For many years (Wilson, 1999), the graduation rates of black students at flagship state universities and HBCU s has been significantly lower than the graduation rates of black students at selective U.S. colleges.

4 Table 2: Worst Four-Year Graduation Rates Ranking University Graduation Rate 1 Vincennes University 0% 2 University of Houston-Downtown Texas Southern University Chicago State University Cameron University Utah Valley University 15 7 Coppin State University Central State University Indiana University Northwest CUNY York College University of Texas at Brownsville University of New Orleans Northeastern Illinois University Metropolitan State College of Denver Shawnee State University University of Arkansas Little Rock Southern University A&M College Clayton State University Kent State University Alabama State University Eastern New Mexico University University of Arkansas at Monticello University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Augusta State University Auburn University at Montgomery 24.5 The authors, who are from a predominantly minority institution in Georgia, are also very interested in the enrollment trends at HBCU s in Georgia. A recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Diamond, 2012), gave the preliminary enrollment data for all of the 35 colleges in the University of Georgia. Over 50% of the schools in Georgia experienced a decrease in enrollment from the fall, 2011 to the fall, The overall decline was only 1.1%, but as seen in the table below, the overall enrollment decrease at the public HBCU s in Georgia appears to be much greater than that. Table 3: Enrollment Data at Public HBCU s in Georgia College Fall, 2011 Fall, 2012 Change Preliminary Preliminary Albany State College 4,653 4, % Fort Valley State 3,949 3, % College Savannah State University 4,541 4, %

5 Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University also experienced enrollment decreases in the past year. SOME REFLECTIONS There are some strategic implications of the enrollment evolution in HBCU s. Most of the HBCU s were established during the segregation period in the U.S. as a means for Blacks to obtain a college education. Since many Blacks were not able to attend White educational institutions during the segregationist period, HBCU s played an important role in the lives of many Blacks (Sissoko and Shiau, 2005). Although Mykerezi and Mills (2008) and Price, Spriggs and Swinton (2011) suggested that HBCU s afford ther graduates relatively superior long-run gains in the labor market, (need citations, need to pull article to see what they say it say), Fryer and Greenstone (2010) stated that the relative returns to students graduating from a HBCU has become negative over time. It appears that HBCU s have been receiving a decreasing amount of the Black high school enrollments in institutions of higher learning. HBCU s and other minority institutions need to study if they will continue to provide students with long-run gains in the foreseeable future. Additional analysis needs to be done on the retention and graduation rates of HBCU s. There are many research questions that need to be answered. As the changing social dynamics occur throughout the U.S., it will be important to determine how the enrollment in HBCU s will evolve. The implications of the changes in enrollment in HBCU s must also be studied. In addition, the authors believe changes in enrollment must be investigated as they are different from the national trend for enrollment all colleges and universities. A hypothesis could be that desegregation has made the market more competitive. HBCUs are not alone in the market anymore and have to compete with other institutions. The authors eventually plan on testing for the increase in competition to see if this claim can be justified. The authors also suggest that a survey be conducted to measure if the potential demand for students at HBCU s has decreased because students have decided that a degree from a HBCU will not provide them with long-term gains in the labor market. REFERENCES Chace, W.M. (2011). Affirmative Inaction: Opposition to affirmative action has dramatically reduced minority enrollment at public universities; private institutions have the power and the responsibility to reverse the trend. American Scholar, Winter 2011, Vol. 80, Issue 1, pg Fryer Jr., R. G. and M. Greenstone (2010). The Changing Consequences of Attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Volume 2 (1), pp

6 Montgomery, R., (2012). Graduation rates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An underperforming performance measure for determining institutional funding policies. Journal of Continuing Higher Education; 2012, Vol. 60, Issue 2, pg List of historically black colleges and universities (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from of historically black colleges and universities Mykerezi, E. and D. F. Mills (2008). The Wage Earnings Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Southern Economic Journal. 75(1) pp O Shaughnessy, L. (2012). 50 universities with best, worst grad rates, Money Watch (O Shaughnessy, L. CBS News, 10/1/12); No author, 1999: African-American college graduation rates: Blacks do best at the Nation s most selective colleges and universities. Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, n25, pg , Fall, 1999 Price G., W. Spriggs and O. Swinton. (2011). The Relative Returns to Graduating from a Historically Black College/University: Propensity Score Matching Estimates from the National Survey of Black Americans. The Review of Black Political Economy. 38 (2), pp

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