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Boom in college enrollment by minorities seen
Study asks: Will schools be prepared?
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- University enrollment in the United States is expected to reach 16 million students by 2015, an increase of 2.6 million from 1995 numbers -- with minority students making up 80 percent of the increase, according to a report released Wednesday by the Educational Testing Service.
The report defines minority students as mainly African-American, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander. Five states with large Hispanic populations -- Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas -- will account for more than half of the overall increase, ETS said.
'Celebrations are premature'
The findings raise questions about whether colleges and universities are prepared for shifting demographics and the increased influx of students, both in terms of academic programs and financial aid.
"The fact that so many more minority students are opting for college is great news and underscores minority families' dedication to educating their children," Sonia Hernandez of the California Department of Education said in a statement accompanying the report.
But "celebrations are premature," she added. "I am very worried that we could fail these children."
Whites to be a minority on some campuses
The report, called Crossing the Great Divide, says the proportion of white students on campuses nationwide will drop from 71 percent in 1995 to 63 percent in 2015. By then, whites will be a minority on campuses in California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and New Mexico, and, soon afterward, in Texas.
Over that same 20-year stretch:
While minority college enrollment is climbing, it is not growing as fast as the black and Hispanic populations aged 18 to 24, the study says. As a result, participation by blacks and Hispanics in higher education will actually decrease in proportion to their populations between 1995 and 2015.
"We need to be careful that the growing numbers of minority students ready for college don't give us a false sense that we have achieved our diversity goals," Richard Fry, co-author of the report, told The New York Times.
He said that if black and Hispanic students attended college at the same rate as whites, the national economy would grow by $231 billion annually.
Anthony Lising Antonio, a professor of education at Stanford University who has studied the impact of diversity on college students, told the Times that colleges risk racial tensions if they do not adjust their curriculums and programs to reflect their new students.
ETS is the private, nonprofit company responsible for Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) and Graduate Record Examinations (GREs).
College town holds raffle to woo students to participate in census
The Educational Testing Service Network
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