UM high in degrees to blacks College Park ranks 4th among 'white' campuses

May 21, 1993|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Staff Writer Carol Emert of States News Service contributed to this article.

The University of Maryland at College Park continues to produce more black graduates than do most predominantly white colleges across the country, according to a study released yesterday.

College Park awarded 710 bachelor's degrees to black students in 1990 -- the fourth highest number among all predominantly white colleges nationally, according to the survey by Black Issues in Higher Education magazine.

The numbers reflect the last year for which complete records were available nationwide.

College Park trailed only Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; Rutgers University at New Brunswick, N.J.; and the University of South Carolina at Columbia, the survey found. Its results were released the day of College Park's commencement ceremony.

Black students have tended to drop out of predominantly white universities in higher numbers than white students, often because of financial considerations or unhappiness with campus life. Officials at many universities, including those at College Park, have expanded their efforts in recent years to recruit and retain more black students.

College Park officials said the study confirms that the university is making progress. But University President William E. Kirwan said colleges across the country have to do more.

"The number is still not as large as we would like to see by a long shot," Dr. Kirwan said. "But it certainly provides encouragement for our pushing ahead with what we're doing."

Overall, predominantly white schools are doing a "much better job" recruiting black students, said William E. Cox, managing editor of the magazine. "But overall they fall short in graduating them and retaining them."

At College Park, for example, blacks made up about 10 percent of the student enrollment in 1990, but accounted for only 6.3 percent of the graduates.

Two other mostly white Maryland schools also graduated large numbers of black students, the survey showed. University College, the state's continuing education college at College Park, graduated 524 black students -- ranking it 10th in the nation. Towson State University, with 336 black graduates, ranked number 37.

Overall, the top 14 producers of black graduates were historically black colleges, the survey found.

Morgan State University, with 796 black graduates, ranked No. 13 on the list of historically black colleges. On that list, Bowie State University ranked No. 40 and Coppin State College ranked 42.

At the graduate level, College Park awarded the second highest number of Ph.D.s to blacks of any university in the country, trailing only Clark Atlanta University, according to the survey.

In a similar study last year, the magazine placed College Park No. 1 among mostly white schools in graduating blacks.

That survey counted only 10 selected disciplines, however, while this year's included degrees awarded in all disciplines.

The university at College Park is one of the largest in the nation, and Maryland has the nation's seventh highest percentage of blacks -- 24.9 percent, according to the 1990 U.S. Census.

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