(Editorial) ND's progress on diversity

A progress report by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education gives high marks to this year’s University of Notre Dame freshman class.

For more than a decade, the JBHE has published a yearly survey of the black first-year students at the country’s highest-ranked university and liberal arts colleges.

According to the survey, Notre Dame had a “huge percentage gain” in African-American freshman this year (there are 95 black first-year students this fall), with the number of blacks applying to Notre Dame up nearly 10 percent from a year ago. The report credits the university with making major strides by increasing the number of accepted black students who decide to enroll in the university from 40.2 percent to 53 percent — a percentage that is among the highest of the nation’s 30 top-ranked universities.

The university did that by increasing financial aid to low-income students and making a more determined outreach effort to black students who had been admitted to the university.

Just a couple years ago, Hispanic Magazine ranked Notre Dame ninth on its list of “Top 25 Colleges for Latinos.” Among other things, the magazine praised the university for a mentoring program that helps ease the adjustment to college life for minority, first-year students.

The task of increasing diversity in institutions of higher learning is one that requires a serious commitment — and action. The rewards are great, because the opportunity to interact and learn with people from a variety of racial and economic backgrounds is an important part of a full and rich education. In addition, it ensures that members of all communities have paths to advance.

It is commendable that Notre Dame has adopted this worthy goal and appears to be making progress toward achieving it.

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Originally published by South Bend Tribune Editorial Board at news.nd.edu on December 10, 2006.