Measures Announced to Reverse Trend of Declining African-American Freshmen Enrollment
The University of Maryland today releases data from the Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment regarding the university's fall 2018 enrollment figures. This fall, the university welcomed an incoming freshman class of 4,714 students from 39 different states and 16 foreign countries.
The university is reporting a decline in the number of new African-American students who chose to enroll this year. Last fall, 12 percent of UMD’s new students--freshmen and transfers--were African-American. This year, that percentage dropped to 10 percent and the decrease was greatest among new freshmen.
“The University of Maryland is deeply committed to providing the best education possible for our students. The outstanding diversity of our student body is essential to achieving that goal,” said UMD’s Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “We are proud to be a leader in the Big Ten in African-American enrollment and graduation rates, but more work is needed to ensure that our educational programs continue to be strengthened by a diverse and talented student body.”
The university will implement many new actions and initiatives to enhance student financial support and address issues of campus climate aimed at reversing this trend. As a first step, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh will appoint an Enrollment Action Council made up of administrative and student leaders from across campus to ensure that all eligible Maryland students can access the extraordinary educational resources available to them at their flagship university.
In addition, the university is hiring a Coordinator of Admission and Diversity Initiatives to enhance the robust recruitment and application support efforts already underway; and the university continues its comprehensive efforts to positively impact our campus climate, including a national search for a new Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.
Addressing financial aid is a centerpiece of Fearless Ideas: The Campaign for Maryland, the university's $1.5 billion fundraising campaign. Thanks to a generous matching gift from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, UMD is has created The Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise, which will establish a $100 million endowment that will provide need-based scholarships to undergraduate students from underserved populations in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.
There are several factors and challenges the university and Enrollment Action Council will take into consideration during this important work. First being to consider how heavily recruited our state’s many academically talented students of color are by out-of-state private and public institutions who can offer tailored financial incentives; as well as how the university competes with many strong HBCUs in our area and the option of free community college for Baltimore city students.
“We would be naïve to think that the tragic incidents of the last two years on our campus have not contributed to our African-American student enrollment decline this year. We must address the concerns about campus climate and hate-bias incidents that UMD and many of our peers are facing,” said Provost Rankin.
To see the full enrollment data report for Fall 2018, visit https://irpa.umd.edu/.