NIU minority enrollment up

By Michelle Isaacson

Black and Hispanic enrollment is increasing at NIU, despite a national decrease.

Robert Burk, NIU Admissions associate director, said the national trend of decreasing minority enrollment at higher education institutions is “not necessarily true at NIU. There has been a mild increase in black and Latino enrollment.”

A national report issued this month by the American Council on Education found that although more minority students are graduating from high schools, fewer are attending college.

Nick Noe, director of NIU Institutional Research, said, “Black enrollment declined (at NIU) in the late ‘70s and early ’80s. In recent years, it’s been increasing on this campus.”

Noe said, that in the fall 1986 semester, NIU enrollment of undergraduate black students totaled 990. In fall 1989, the number grew to 1,142 black students, Noe said.

Undergraduate Hispanic enrollment at NIU was 363 students in fall 1986, Noe said. In fall 1989, enrollment was up to 514 students, he said.

“We have been very concerned about minority access,” Noe said. Burk said NIU has developed programs for recruiting minority students and provided benefits such as tuition waivers for students who meet several requirements.

According to the national report, “Since the mid-1970s, the college participation of African-Americans and Hispanics has been a picture not of progress, but of major regression.”

However, Burk said, “I don’t believe the country itself is behind minority education as it once was.”

The report is based on national statistics; however, it cites other studies showing that lack of money and financial aid changes from grants to loans are discouraging minorities from attending college.

The national report states black enrollment decreased nearly 10 percent from 39.8 percent in 1976 to 30.3 percent in 1988.

National college enrollment for Hispanics fell from 50.4 percent to 35.3 percent in the same period, the report stated.