We synthesized quantitative and qualitative data about 106 private colleges and universities through data collection, analysis, and substantive interviews. The Index, specifically created to reflect the experiences of Black students, assigns each institution an overall score of 1000 points. Separate scores are also given to each college in access and affordability, diversity, campus culture, and student outcomes.
Access and Affordability (Maximum Score 300 points): To examine access and affordability, we explore each college of the public presence of Black professionals in admissions offices, as deans, and as directors of admissions. We believe that it is key for prospective students to find those who look like them. We also examine Federal higher education data to approximate college access based on the number of low and middle-income students a college enrolls and the price it charges. To measure a college’s willingness to have student-centered admissions policies for historically excluded groups, we examine application deadlines for factors that promote access, such as a regular decision application deadline after January 15th. Finally, we consider institutional scholarships for underrepresented students and the average net price after grants for affordability. (Sources: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems - IPEDS, College Websites).
Diversity (Maximum Score 275 points): For diversity, we examine the percentage of Black students and other minoritized students attending the college. In addition, to serve as a proxy for possible empathic mentors available to Black students, we examine the percentage of Black faculty and faculty from other underrepresented groups employed on campus. (Sources: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems - IPEDS.)
Campus Culture (Maximum Score: 250 points): Under campus culture, we consider the college’s membership in national organizations that foster campus diversity and student engagement. We also assess the college’s organizational and reporting structure regarding its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer and evaluate the extent to which the college has engaged in recent anti-racism campaigns or initiatives. (Sources: National Survey of Student Engagement Data - NSSE, National Association of Diversity in Higher Education, College Websites).
Student Outcomes (Maximum Score: 175 points): For student outcomes, we examine the return on investment for students receiving federal student aid ten years after graduation. We analyze the graduation rates for Black students and the percentage of degrees conferred to Black students. (Sources: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems - IPEDS, College Scorecard, Center on Education and the Workforce - Georgetown University, The Ed Trust).
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