Increase in black freshmen at Notre Dame rated among best in nation

Author: Dennis Brown


The University of Notre Dameposted a huge percentage gainin African-American freshmen this year, one of the largest among the nations top-ranked universities, according to a survey released this week by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE).

The 14 th annual survey, which was published in the JBHEs autumn 2006 issue, compiles and analyzes racial data on the first-year classes of the top 30 national research universities, as determined by U.S. News&World Report. Key factors include the number of African-American applicants, their acceptance rates, enrollment numbers and yield rates (the percentage of students who eventually enroll in the college at which they were accepted).

The number of blacks applying to Notre Dame for the current academic year rose nearly 10 percent from 2005, and a slightly higher number of black students were accepted for admission, according to the survey. Notre Dames yield, however, increased dramatically, from 40.2 percent in 2005 to 53.4 percent this year, the fifth highest total among the 30 universities in the report.

The result was a 44 percent increase in the number of black students in this years freshman class compared to 2005, one of the largest increases in the nation. In addition, the acceptance rate among African-Americans at Notre Dame was 48.4 percent, second nationally.

A year ago, (Rev.) John Jenkins, the new president of the University of Notre Dame, stated that one of his five primary goals at the beginning of his tenure was to increase diversity in both the student body and faculty,JBHE reported.It appears that the admissions office took the presidents goals to heart. They made a concerted effort to increase the number of black andother minority students on campus. Financial aid to low-income students was increased. A more determined outreach effort was made to black students who were admitted to the University in an attempt to convince them to enroll.

Daniel Saracino, Notre Dames assistant vice provost for enrollment, attributes much of the increase to the admissions departments Spring Visitation Weekend, during which some 150 prospective students from under-represented populations spend several days on campus gaining first-hand experience of the University through interaction with current students, alumni, faculty and staff.

The overall percentage of ethnic minority students in Notre Dames first-year class is a record 24 percent – 4.7 percent African-American, 11.4 percent Hispanic American, 8 percent Asian American, and .6 percent Native American.

We enrolled a great class, and we believe strongly that next falls class will build upon this momentum and include even more students from ethnic minority groups,Saracino said.

The journals survey found that theUniversityofNorth Carolinahad the highest percentage of black students – 12.3 percent – in its first-year class.StanfordUniversityranked second at 10 percent andDukeUniversitywas third at 9.5 percent.

JBHE is a quarterly publication that is dedicated to the conscientious investigation of the status and prospects for African-Americans in higher education. The journals full report on first-year students is online at .