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March 2, 1995

Applications from black students up; retention rates still lagging

Black students are applying to enroll at Pitt at a rate 44 percent ahead of last year at this point — the highest increase in applications from African-Americans here in recent memory, according to University administrators.

So far, 893 black students have applied to Pitt for the fall term, compared to 622 last year at this time.

But black Pitt students continue to lag behind their white counterparts in graduation and retention rates. The five-year graduation rate of black, first-time, full-time freshmen is 39 percent here, compared to 64 percent for whites.

Total applications to Pitt from all minorities for fall 1995 stand at 1,507 so far, up 24 percent from last year. Chancellor J. Dennis O'Connor reported those numbers and others Feb. 16 in his annual affirmative action report to the trustees.

O'Connor also updated the trustees on overall admissions trends. So far, Pitt has received 6,594 applications for fall 1995, 32 fewer than last year at this time, he said. Applications from out-of-state students are up 15 percent, from 1,685 to 1,936, compared to this point last year. But applications from Pennsylvania residents are down 6 percent, from 4,941 last year to 4,658 so far this year.

About 84 percent of Pitt's 24,000 full- and part-time students are from Pennsylvania. Last fall, University officials announced a goal of recruiting more non-Pennsylvania students.

Of the total applicants for fall 1995, average SAT scores were up 10 points, O'Connor said.

Trustees were given a written report on affirmative action data for Pitt students, faculty and staff for the fall 1994 term. Among the report's highlights were the following: Minorities Undergraduate enrollment Black and total minority undergraduate enrollments at the Pittsburgh campus are up slightly from 8.5 percent and 12.3 percent of the overall student body, respectively, in fall 1993 to 8.6 percent and 12.9 percent in fall 1994.

Black undergraduate enrollment declined at each of Pitt's regional campuses except Greensburg. Total minority enrollments are down at all four regional campuses, which collectively enroll just 113 blacks and 10 foreign students in a combined student body of 6,191.

Undergrad recruitment Black freshman enrollment at the Pittsburgh campus is down from 11.3 percent (310 students) of the overall student body in fall 1993 to 10.4 percent (272 students) in fall 1994.

Black entering freshmen enrollment is down at each of the regionals except Greensburg.

Undergrad retention The retention rate (those graduated plus those still enrolled) of black first-time, full-time freshmen at the Pittsburgh campus after five years of enrollment is up from 47.3 percent for the fall 1987 entering class to 49.1 percent for fall 1988.

Graduate and professional students Black graduate enrollment is up from 4.6 percent to 4.8 percent of the overall graduate student body, while black enrollment in professional schools is down from 7.5 percent to 7.2 percent from fall 1993 to fall 1994. Total minority graduate and professional enrollments for fall 1994 stand at 9.2 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively.

Faculty The number of tenured black full-time faculty at the Pittsburgh campus declined by one to 39 (3.7 percent of Pittsburgh campus full-time tenured faculty) from fall 1993 to fall 1994. The number of black tenure-stream full-time faculty increased from nine (2.1 percent of the total) to 17 (4.1 percent). Total minority full-time faculty representation at the Pittsburgh campus remained about the same — 13.7 percent in fall 1993 compared to 13.8 percent in fall 1994.

Staff Blacks made up 12.6 percent of the Pittsburgh campus full-time staff in fall 1994, including 27.6 of service/maintenance employees; 19.9 percent of technical/paraprofessional employees; 7.3 percent of professionals and 5.8 percent of skilled crafts employees. Blacks comprise 6.5 percent of the executive, administrative and managerial staff. Pittsburgh campus total minority full-time staff and total minority executive, administrative and managerial representations are 15 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

Women Students Female undergraduate enrollment remains at about 50 percent University-wide.

Female undergraduate five-year graduation and retention rates at the Pittsburgh campus exceed male undergraduates' rates by about 5 and 2 percentage points, respectively, for the fall 1988 first-time, full-time freshman class.

Female graduate enrollment dropped one percentage point to 52 percent of the total graduate student body in fall 1994.

Female first-professional enrollment is up in the School of Medicine from 38 percent to 40 percent and down in the School of Law from 43 percent to 39 percent from fall 1993 to fall 1994.

Faculty Among the Pittsburgh campus total of tenured full-time faculty, the percentage of women dropped from 18 percent to 17.8 percent, while tenure-stream full-time faculty representation is up from 31.3 percent to 31.6 percent from fall 1993 to fall 1994.

Staff Females made up 62.7 percent of the Pittsburgh full-time staff in fall 1994, ranging from 90.1 percent in the secretarial/clerical category to 24.1 percent in service/maintenance and 7 percent in skilled crafts. Females comprise 28.1 percent of the executive, administrative and managerial staff.

— Bruce Steele

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