Friday, December 21, 2007

New GAO Report Examines College Enrollment Among Minority Students

This is from a forwarded email. If you're interested in downloading the report click here -Patricia

News: U.S. House of Representatives
Congressman George Miller, Chairman
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Press Office, 202-226-0853

New GAO Report Examines College Enrollment among Minority Students Report Also Looks at Tuition Increases by Type of College

WASHINGTON, D.C. - College enrollment among minority students has grown rapidly since the 2000-01 school year, though African-American and Hispanic students are increasingly likely to enroll in two-year colleges rather than four-year colleges, according to a new report prepared for U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

The report, from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, found that overall, college enrollment among Hispanic students grew by 25 percent between 2000-01 and 2006-07; among African-American students, it grew by 15 percent; among Asian-American/Pacific-Islander students, it grew by 15 percent; and among white students, it grew by 3 percent.

Last year, African-American and Hispanic college students were more likely to attend two-year public colleges than they were ten years ago. According to the report, between the 1995-96 and 2006-07 school years, Hispanic student enrollments in two-year schools increased by four percentage points, while enrollments in four-year schools declined by two percentage points. During the same time, African-American student enrollments in two-year schools increased by three percentage points, while enrollments in four-year schools decreased by three percentage points.

Today, nearly 60 percent of all Hispanic students are enrolled in two-year colleges, as are 50 percent of African-American students and 43 percent of white students.

"These significant increases in minority college enrollment are welcome news. But whether they choose to attend a two-year or four-year-college, we must ensure that qualified students are able to afford the tuition," said Miller, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. "Already this year, we have enacted legislation to help students pay for college and succeed there. And we are working on additional legislation to ensure that college prices are within reach of all qualified students."

Miller expressed concerns about whether college tuition prices were leading to this distribution shift. "Students should be free to choose the college that best suits their needs - whether two-year or four-year - irrespective of the price," said Miller. He also said that the Committee intends to hold hearings on this topic next year.

Report Looks at Tuition Increases

According to the GAO, while tuition and fees rose among all institutions of higher education over the past twelve years, tuition and fees at two-year public colleges increased by the smallest dollar amount, while tuition at two-year private colleges increased by the smallest percentage.

The report also found that between the 2000-01 and 2005-06 school years, private colleges and universities spent more on average on education-related expenses than did public schools. At private institutions, tuition increases correlated with higher expenditures on education-related services, such as academic and instructional support, student services, and administrative needs. At the same time, spending on education-related services lagged behind tuition increases at public institutions.

"This report further highlights the need for fair and full information about increases in college prices and where those tuition hikes are being spent," said Miller. "Students and their families deserve to know whether or not price increases are justified, and whether they are getting the best possible education for their investment."

Miller is the author of legislation that would address rising college prices by encouraging colleges to rein in price increases, ensuring that states maintain their commitments to higher education funding, and providing students and families with consumer friendly information on college pricing and the factors driving tuition increases. That bill, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137), is expected to be considered by the House early next year.

He is also the author of a recently-enacted law that helps more low-income and minority students go to college. Among other things, the law increases the maximum Pell Grant scholarship by $1,090 over the next five years; makes need-based student loans more affordable; and restores critical funding for the Upward Bound program, which helps low-income and first-generation students access and complete college.

For a copy of the GAO report, please email

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