Black Enrollments Decline at the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida in Tampa is a diverse campus. Underrepresented minorities made up 35 percent of the student body during the 2011-12 academic year.

But for Black students, enrollments are on the decline. In the fall of 2011, Black made up 10.5 percent of the entering class. This is down from 16 percent a decade ago. Blacks were nearly 14 percent of the total enrollments five years ago. The latest figure was 10.8 percent. Blacks make up 17 percent of surrounding Hillsborough County.

University officials believe that the sagging economy may be forcing Black students to attend less expensive community colleges rather than enrolling at the more costly University of South Florida. Rising admission standards may also be a factor in the decline in Black enrollments. Due to the 1999 One Florida plan passed by then Governor Jeb Bush, race cannot be considered in admission decisions to Florida’s state universities.

An encouraging note is that for Black students who do enroll, their success rate is going up. Over the past five years, the Black student graduation rate at the University of South Florida has increased by five percentage points.

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