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Vanderbilt News

Vanderbilt fourth in recruitment of African American first-year students

Nov. 8, 2006, 3:54 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt ranks fourth among the nation‘s top universities in the percentage of African Americans who make up the current freshman class, according to a survey by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

With African Americans comprising 9.4 percent of the first-year class this fall, Vanderbilt is tied with Columbia University in the rankings released Nov. 7. Only the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with 12.3 percent, Stanford University with 10.1 percent and Duke University with 9.5 percent had higher rates.

“Over the past decade the number of black freshmen at Vanderbilt has nearly doubled,” the magazine said, noting that in 1995 only 4 percent for the freshman class was black. “Vanderbilt has moved from 10th place in last year‘s survey to a tie for fourth, its highest level in the 14 years JBHE has conducted its survey.”

“We are committed to making the Vanderbilt experience as diverse and as inclusive as possible for all students,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Nicholas S. Zeppos. “To see so much progress in attracting African American students over such a short period of time is both inspiring and exhilarating.”

Douglas Christiansen, Vanderbilt associate provost for enrollment and dean of admissions, said the university strives each year to recruit a highly qualified freshman class from a variety of populations. “We recognize that top students can be found among all racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups and our recruiters work hard to identify them and to make them aware of the opportunities available to Vanderbilt students.”

The magazine based its findings on data provided by the top 30 national universities, as determined by U.S. News & World Report in its most recent “Best Colleges” rankings.

Each school was asked to provide information on the number of African American applicants, their acceptance rates, enrollment numbers, and yield rates, which measure the percentage of students who eventually enroll in the college at which they were accepted.

Of the 12,189 students who applied for admission to Vanderbilt‘s freshman class this fall, 853 were African Americans. Vanderbilt accepted 350 African Americans and 149 enrolled as members of the Class of 2010, which totals 1,590.

“The percentage of black applicants who receive invitations to join the freshman class is a strong gauge of an institution‘s commitment to racial diversity,” the magazine said.” The figure remains the most sensitive of all admissions data. This is particularly true for the very highest ranked institutions.”

To view the report, go to:

Media contact: Elizabeth Latt, 615-322-NEWS

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