With 39% of our 2010 entering undergraduate class being classified as minority, universities like UMass Boston are having a major impact of the changing demographics of higher education. As a member of the university advancement staff for the past five years, I have time and again seen the transforming impact of scholarship assistance on widening opportunities for students, who in another era might not have had the opportunity to pursue college.
Here’s the 2/23/12 article, U.S. Bachelor Degree Rate Passes Milestone, by New York Times writer Richard Perez-Pena.
More than 30 percent of American adults hold bachelor’s degrees, a first in the nation’s history, and women are on the brink of surpassing men in educational attainment, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday.
The figures reflect an increase in the share of the population going to college that began in the mid-1990s, after a relatively stagnant period that began in the 1970s. They show significant gains in all demographic groups, but blacks and Latinos not only continue to trail far behind whites, the gap has also widened in the last decade.
As of last March, 30.4 percent of people over age 25 in the United States held at least a bachelor’s degree, and 10.9 percent held a graduate degree, up from 26.2 percent and 8.7 percent 10 years earlier.
For many years, colleges have enrolled and graduated more women than men, and a historic male advantage in higher education has nearly been erased. In 2001, men held a 3.9 percentage-point lead in bachelor’s degrees and 2.6 percentage points in graduate degrees; by last year, both gaps were down to 0.7 percent.
Among Hispanics, the share of adults holding bachelor’s degrees grew from 11.1 percent in 2001 to 14.1 percent last year, and among blacks it climbed from 15.7 percent to 19.9 percent. But the distinction rose even faster among non-Hispanic whites, from 28.7 percent to 34 percent.
Asian-Americans remain the nation’s best-educated racial group, with 50.3 percent having bachelor’s degrees, and 19.5 percent holding graduate degrees.
The figures come from the Census Bureau’s annual Current Population Survey, and were released along with a series of reports taken from another ongoing canvass, the American Community Survey. One of those, examining major fields of study, shows that taken together, engineering and science are the most common areas for bachelor’s degrees, representing 34.9 percent of the total.
The persistence of men in those fields is waning, a significant trend given that engineers and people with science backgrounds tend to be in high demand, and have above-average incomes. Among college graduates 65 or older, only 23 percent of those with degrees in science or engineering majors are women; among people 40 to 64, the proportion of women rises to 36 percent; among those 25 to 39, 45.9 percent are women.
The same report also found that engineers and science majors are most heavily concentrated on the East and West Coasts, with the highest percentages in the District of Columbia, California, Washington and Maryland, and the lowest in Southern and Plains states.
Who are UMass Boston’s students? Out of 15,454 students in Fall 2010,
75% are undergraduates
60% are women
39% are members of a minority group
61% are White
15% are Black or African-American
12% are Asian
9% are Hispanic of any race
1% are Cape Verdean
You can make a difference in the lives of UMass Boston students.
Scholarship support is one way to ensure that our students continue to thrive in defying the odds of becoming part of the 30% of American citizens who are becoming educated with an undergraduate degree.
Nan Cormier is director of advancement communications at UMass Boston.