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Where Minorities Earn Their Degrees

Some colleges and universities educate a disproportionately large share of undergraduates who are members of racial/ethnic minorities. America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) continue to play an important role in the production of bachelor's degrees earned by blacks, despite the growing diversity of the Nation's campuses. The percentage of black students who received bachelor's degrees in science and engineering at HBCU's was 28 percent in 1991, down slightly from 32 percent in 1981. (See appendix tables 5-36, 5-37 and 5-38.) The decline occurred mainly in non-science and engineering fields (35 percent to 28 percent) and social sciences (28 percent to 23 percent).
Change varied across fields: In physical sciences the percentage of blacks earning bachelor's degrees at HBCU's rose between 1981 and 1991 from 40 percent to 48 percent, whereas in mathematics the percentage fell from 51 percent to 46 percent. In the natural sciences, there was only a slight decline, from 42 percent to 41 percent.
Half of the 26 institutions that awarded the largest number of science bachelor's degrees to black men were HBCU's. (See appendix table 5-42.) Twelve of the top 26 institutions awarding bachelor's degrees to black men in engineering were HBCU's. For black women, 15 of the top 25 institutions for bachelor's degrees in science were HBCU's, as were 8 of the top 26 institutions in engineering. (See appendix table 5-43.)
HBCU's also play an important role in educating blacks who continue their education and obtain science and engineering doctorates. More than 23 percent of blacks who earned their doctorates in science and engineering between 1988 and 1992 received their bachelor's degrees from HBCU's.
Hispanics are likely to attend colleges and universities in regions of the country where they form a large percentage of the population: California, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. (See appendix tables 5-44 and 5-45.) Institutions in Puerto Rico play an important role in undergraduate education, although the number of institutions awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanics is now more diverse than it once was. In 1991, Puerto Rican institutions awarded 26 percent of all bachelor's degrees given to Hispanics, down from the 34 percent in 1981. (See appendix tables 5-39, 5-40 and 5-41.) In science and engineering the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics by institutions in Puerto Rico declined from 30 percent of the science and engineering degrees awarded to all Hispanic recipients in 1981 to 20 percent in 1991.
American Indians, like Hispanics, tend to study at institutions in the regions of the country where they are concentrated by population-Oklahoma, California, and Texas. (See appendix tables 5-48 and 5-49.)
Asians appear to choose large State institutions for their bachelor's degrees in science and engineering. (See appendix tables 5-46 and 5-47.)
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