Two-year institutions make a significant contribution to the higher education of minority students. Of the 5.6 million students enrolled in 2-year colleges in 1991, 20 percent were underrepresented
minorities, up from 18 percent in 1982. (See figure 4-4.) For minority students, the proportions attending 2-year colleges were all higher than for the group attending 4-year colleges (Adelman 1992).
The number of underrepresented minority women enrolled in 2-year institutions grew from 429,475 in 1980 to 662,263 in 1991, and the number of underrepresented minority men grew from 399,238 to 454,707.
Within each racial/ethnic group except Asians, the number of women enrolled in 2-year institutions exceeded the number of men enrolled. (See figure 4-5.)
In 1981, underrepresented minorities earned just over 60,000 associate's degrees, 14 percent of the total. Ten years later, underrepresented minorities earned 70,645 associate's degrees or 15 percent of
the total. Similar percentages characterized their share of science and engineering associate's degrees during a period of decline in these awards to students overall. In 1981, underrepresented minorities earned 11,177 associate's degrees in
science and engineering, about 14 percent of the total science and engineering associate's degrees. Ten years later, the number of science and engineering degrees earned by this group had dropped to 9,777, 15 percent of all science and engineering
associate's degrees. Sixty-one percent of these degrees (5,973) were in engineering.
The total number of students enrolled full time grew by 22 percent from 1980 to 1991. The number of underrepresented minorities enrolled as full-time students increased 28 percent, a
considerably larger increase than the percentage increase for the total population. Larger increases in part-time enrollment also occurred among underrepresented minorities; whereas total part-time enrollment rose 30 percent between 1980 and 1991,
the part-time enrollment of underrepresented minorities rose 59 percent.
The number of blacks earning associate's degrees in science and engineering declined steadily, from 6,446 in 1981 to 4,572 in 1990, but rebounded to 5,068 the following year. (See figure 4-6.) The number of Hispanics earning associate's degrees followed a similar pattern, declining from 4,228 in 1981 to 3,771 in 1990, but then increasing to 4,151 in 1991. Similarly, the number of American Indians
earning science and engineering associate's degrees declined from 503 in 1981 to 419 in 1990 before increasing to 558 in 1991. Women from underrepresented minorities tended to follow the pattern for all women. (See figure
The number of Asians earning associate's degrees in science and engineering fluctuated throughout the decade, growing from 1981 to 1987, then declining in succeeding years to 2,408 in 1991.