Diversity Increases at Public Historically Black Colleges

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Public historically black colleges and universities have become increasingly diverse over a 20-year period, according to a new report by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

The proportion of Hispanic, Asian, and multi-ethnic students enrolled in the organization's member institutions jumped from 6 percent of the student population in 1986 to 8 percent in 2006. The total number of nonblack students of color increased by 64 percent. The organization represents 47 public historically black colleges and universities, or HBCU's.

"Diversity matters to HBCU's," Olivia M. Blackmon, a strategic research analyst for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said in a telephone news conference last week. Ms. Blackmon pointed to the historic mission of HBCU's to support underserved communities and said the institutions are fulfilling that promise not only by reaching out to African Americans, but also by reaching out to other minorities.

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