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September 28, 2018

UMass Boston earns top marks from USC’s Race and Equity Center


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National report card ranks UMass Boston second highest on equity index score

UMass Boston has the second highest score on a new national ranking that assesses how well public universities serve African American students. Compiled by the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California—with support from the Ford Foundation—the new report card grades the nation’s public, four year universities in all fifty states on their ability to attract Black students and faculty members, while retaining and graduating Black students at rates equal to the campus average. UMass Boston is among the top 20 universities in the country according to the new ranking.

Drawing on federal data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the report card assesses each university on four criteria:  

  1. Representation equity: the extent to which Black students’ share of enrollment in the undergraduate student population reflects their representation among 18-24-year-old citizens in that state
  2. Gender equity: the extent to which the proportionality of Black women’s and men’s respective shares of Black student enrollments in the undergraduate student population reflects the national gender enrollment distribution across all racial/ethnic groups (56.3 percent women, 43.7 percent men)
  3. Completion equity: the extent to which Black students’ six-year graduation rates, across four cohorts, matches overall six-year graduation rates during those same time periods at each institution
  4. Black student-to-Black faculty ratio: the ratio of full-time, degree-seeking Black undergraduates to full-time Black instructional faculty members on each campus

UMass Boston was one of 14 public universities to receive an equity index score of 3.25; three universities received the highest score on the report card, 3.5. The schools graded in Massachusetts received an average of 2.81, making the commonwealth the most successful state in the country on these measures.

With 14.8 percent Black students, UMass Boston received an A in the representation equity category. It also received an A in the completion equity category.

“UMass Boston has long had the most diverse student body of any university in New England. Inclusion enriches and enhances our campus,” said Interim Chancellor Katherine S. Newman. “We will continue to take steps to ensure that our campus makes progress in this domain to promote excellence, upward mobility, and access.”

Shaun Harper, the executive director of the Race and Equity Center, told Inside Higher Ed he will be supplying each school with a hard copy of the report and recommendations for improvement. Harper says he plans to repeat the report card every four years.