Higher Education

Rising tuition means falling diversity on campus

Diversity is falling at public four-year universities as tuition keeps rising, according to new research.

A $1,000 tuition increase in full-time, undergraduate tuition lowers campus racial and ethnic diversity by almost 6 percent at nonselective public institutions—often the gateways to higher education for first-generation, low-income and nonwhite students—the research, by Gregory Wolniak of New York University and Drew Allen
of NYU and the City University of New York, found.

Allen and Wolniak were to present their conclusions at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Chicago.

Tuition hikes had less of an impact on diversity at the most selective universities, which have more resources to help low-income students afford the cost of attendance. But those schools also have less diversity to begin with. They’re about 23 percent nonwhite, compared to less-selective institutions, which are 41 percent nonwhite.

Wolniak and Allen found that every 1 percent increase in in-state tuition and fees results in a decrease of more than one-tenth of 1 percent in racial and ethnic diversity.

In-state tuition and fees at public universities increased 8.5 percent in 2011, another 4.5 percent in 2012, and an additional 2.9 percent last year.

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Jon Marcus

Jon Marcus, higher-education editor, has written about higher education for the Washington Post, USA Today, Time, the Boston Globe, Washington Monthly, is North America higher-education… See Archive

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