If you’re a person of color looking to enter college this year, then there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that there’s more opportunity for you than ever before. But the bad news is that American colleges on the whole still need to do much more for minority students once they’re studying.
The enrollment of minority students into college across America is on the rise. In 2014, 63% of African American students and 62% of Hispanic students leaving high school were directly enrolling in college. However, minority students still face many barriers to attaining a great career that requires a college degree. In many instances, these barriers are caused by the colleges that minority students are attending. Financial burdens, racial bias, and many other concerns contribute to this. In fact, just 45.8% of Hispanic students and 38% of African American students make it all the way through college to graduation.
The shockingly low graduation rate reported above shows that most colleges need to do more for minorities. Graduation should be equal among all races. Luckily, some colleges are working against these statistics. They are providing the right assistance, creating a learning community free of prejudice and ensuring that graduation rates are high for all.
But there are many colleges that claim to have an equal selection process and great services for ethnic minorities. Only some of them actually have the statistics to back these claims up. If you’re wondering how you can identify these colleges, then look no further than this article. We’ve crunched the numbers, researched many sources and provided a definitive list of the best colleges for minority students.
Any one of the 30 institutions listed below is a great choice for a person of color. However, in case none of the choices are right for you, then we’ve ensured that this article can still be a vital resource. We’ve highlighted inclusive activities, financial initiatives and other things that the below colleges are doing for minorities. You can look at these and see if your college options are doing anything comparable. If not, then perhaps you could start similar activities at your college.
At the end of the day, achieving your desired career goals is up to you. And the first step you need to take on this journey is to pick a college that will facilitate this. This choice should be much easier after reading this article.
Our list takes into consideration a range of sources, which all use different comparable data. A straightforward list of which colleges have the most minority enrollment is easy to come by online. Therefore, our list is more than that. Yes, enrollment rates are important, but we’ve also looked at graduation rates, early career salaries, college affordability and, most importantly, evidence of a great learning environment for people of any background. Our sources are as follows:
Diverse Education: 30 Best U.S. Non-HBCU Schools for Minorities: http://diverseeducation.com/article/53530/
Time Money, The 50 Best Colleges for African Americans – in One Handy Chart: http://time.com/money/4282172/best-colleges-african-americans/
US News, Campus Ethnic Diversity: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/campus-ethnic-diversity
Niche.com, 2018 Most Diverse Colleges: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/most-diverse-colleges/
Price Economics, Ranking the Most (and Least) Diverse Colleges in America: https://priceonomics.com/ranking-the-most-and-least-diverse-colleges-in/
One thing that must be noted is that both Price Economics and US News sort large universities and liberal arts colleges into two separate lists. Both are used for our methodology ranking.
The above sources give a perfect insight into which colleges are giving ethnically diverse students the education and college experience they deserve. Some sources use research they’ve conducted into colleges themselves, while others use aggregated student-led reviews. We’ve cross-referenced this data and then conducted our own research into the institutions, seeing what they have in place for minority students.
Not only is our article a synthesized list of the methodology lists, but it’s also a fact-checked guide to what colleges are doing for minority students. Our findings of the best colleges for minorities are listed, from 30 to one, below:
30. University of Houston
Media Policy/Media Studies Program
This is the first of two Houston based entries on the list. US News regards the University of Houston as one of the best colleges in America for diversity, placing it at fifth. Diverse Education has a similar opinion, placing it at 12th and noting that in-state tuition is an incredibly affordable $6600 a year, with financial aid being granted to 41% of students regardless of where they come from. However, the only other methodology list that this college features on is Niche.com, where it ranks 468th. Further research proves that the University of Houston is indeed taking diversity and equality on its campus extremely seriously. In fact, in 2016 the college won three Insight Into Diversity awards, the first-ever college to manage this.
29. University of California, Santa Cruz
Feminist Studies Program
US News names the University of California, Santa Cruz as the ninth best national university for diversity. Price Economics has a similar opinion, placing it at 15th nationally. Niche.com’s student-led reviews are less generous, placing it at 194th (but this is out of 1,503 ranked colleges.) While this college’s Hispanic and Asian enrollment rates are strong, at 29.9% and 18.7% respectively, it still needs to do more for African American enrollment, which stands at 4.6%. However, the college is an active force in championing equality. It recently launched Take a Stand Against Hate, which will create events aimed at enforcing inclusiveness.
28. Pepperdine University
Business Administration Program
Pepperdine is one of many California based colleges to make this list. Price Economics states that on a demographic level, 42% of students are white, 7% are African American, 15% are Hispanic, 15% are Asian and 21% are other. Those demographics mean that the college is the 11th most diverse national university in the country. Diverse Education places Pepperdine at 18th in America, noting its strong Hispanic graduation rate. However, Pepperdine fares less well on the other methodology lists. US News places the college at 98th for diversity. Niche.com’s student review led rankings place Pepperdine at 224th. Pepperdine University’s diversity outlook comes from the college’s Christian focus. This has resulted in diversity councils at the college’s various schools and one that is university-wide.
27. San Francisco State University
Applied Mathematics Program
Diverse Education places San Francisco State University at seventh. US News places it at sixth. But Niche.com places it at 193rd in the country for diversity. None of the other lists feature it. Research into the college’s diversity stats proves that it is indeed a diverse community. 24.2% of students are white. 30% are Asian. 32.9% are Hispanic. 5.4% are African American. And 7.5% are other. And the college is very active in ensuring that its diversity goals are always evolving. For this academic year, the college is aiming to start a workgroup for Hispanic student services, improve the infrastructure of its resource center, develop a free speech toolkit and much more.
26. Pacific Union College
Music Degree Program
This college ranks at first place on US News’s liberal arts section. It also manages to place at 49th on Niche.com’s student review led list. Part of Pacific Union College’s success in being diverse comes from it being a Seventh Day Adventist institution, which is the most racially diverse religion in America. And Pacific Union College has a long history of diversity. It admitted its first African American student as far back as 1883, just one year after its founding. So you can be sure that this is an accepting community!
25. Agnes Scott College
This is the second most diverse liberal arts college in America when looking at Price Economics’s demographic numbers. It has a 31% white population, 35% African American population, 11% Hispanic population, 3% Asian population and 20% other population. US News places the college at third for liberal arts college diversity. Niche.com places it at 147th. Part of what makes this college strong for different minorities is that its minority organizations have formed a coalition. This allows for diverse groups to both maintain their unique identities and collaborate together.
24. Georgia Institute of Technology
Business Administration Program
This Atlanta based college places at 12th on Time Money’s list. What makes Georgia Institute of Technology place so highly is that the average early career salary for a person of color graduate is $62,000, the highest in America. US News places the college at 97th for diversity. Price Economics places it at 42nd. Niche.com places it at 145th. The diversity-related events at this college are possibly the best in the country, with diversity symposiums, black history month lectures, and lectures on civil rights history.
23. Duke University
Marxism and Society Program
Time Money places Duke University at third best for people of color. Price Economics places it at 32nd on the national demographic diversity scale. It notes that the college has a 49% white population, 10% African American population, 6% Asian population and 14% other population. Duke also ranks at 60th on US News and 142nd on Niche.com. Duke has developed an online diversity toolkit for both students and faculty that includes videos, articles and other resources that will help people from a range of backgrounds flourish. Topics covered in the materials include ways to make less biased decisions and ways to effectively communicate across cultural barriers.
22. Claremont McKenna University
This college is seventh on Price Economics’s liberal arts college list, 19th on US News’s list and 61st on Niche.com’s list. The demographics of the college are 43% white, 5% African American, 11% Hispanic, 11% Asian and 30% other. Part of what makes Claremont Mckenna College so good for minority students is its continual focus on self-reflection. Part of this involves a survey on student life and campus climate every three years, which involves asking students whether or not they are happy with a range of potential issues related to campus life and study.
21. University of Hawaii at Manoa
This island-based college performs incredibly well on some lists but isn’t featured on others. Diverse Education considers it to be the third best college for minorities, noting that only 20% of students are white. It is seventh on US News’s list. Lastly, it is 69th on Niche.com’s list. However, its representation of African American and Hispanic students is lacking. They make up just 3.4% of the current student population. This is presumably because of the distance of the university and the demographics of the state of Hawaii. The University of Hawaii at Manoa does have some strong programs for bringing underprivileged students out of poverty, such as Bridge to Hope, which benefits a range of its local communities.
20. Yale University
Mathematics and Philosophy Program
Time Money considers Yale to be the eighth best college for people of color, noting that students graduate with a low student loan debt of $12,000. US News names it the 52nd best college for diversity. Niche.com places it at 13th. Price Economics places it at 26th. And Yale has ensured that its minority students have enough resources to feel included and that their needs are met. It has five different cultural centers, each with an individual focus on a specific minority, which includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.
19. Rutgers University – Newark
Management Information Systems Program
This New Jersey based institution is represented on almost every methodology list but in very different positions. Diverse Education ranks it at fifth, noting its affordable in-state tuition is at around $11,000 per year. Time Money tells a different tale, placing it at 50th and noting that while its 16% African American population is strong, its African Ameican graduation rate is only 60% (which is admittedly much higher than the national average.) US News places it at 2nd. Niche.com’s student review led rankings place it at 82nd. It isn’t featured on Price Economics. And Rutgers is proud of being a pioneer of campus diversity. For instance, the college admitted and graduated two African American women in the 1940s.
18. Cornell University
Fiber Science & Apparel Design Program
Price Economics states that Cornell University is the 17th most demographically diverse college in America. Niche.com places it at 59th. US News places it at 54th. Time Money places it at fourth but does note that the college has one of the highest net prices for a degree in America, at $213,000. Cornell’s diversity inclusion events are incredible. The college hosts barbecues, career conversations and much more with an eye to making people feel welcome no matter their background and identity.
17. University of Pennsylvania
This college makes four of the methodology lists. Time Money places it at seventh, noting that the African American graduation rate is an incredible 94%. Niche.com places it at 57th. US News places it at 58th. Price Economics places it at 21st, stating that it has a 46% white population, 6% African American population, 8% Hispanic population, 15% Asian population and 19% other population. And the University of Pennsylvania’s inclusive activities goes beyond its student population. It has created a program called Penn Compact 2020 that aims to engage with diverse communities in its home city, across America and around the globe. These activities include supporting schools, hospitals and equality related political activities.
16. Emory University
Spanish Major Program
Based in Atlanta, the capital of the South, Emory University is a great college for anyone. Price Economics says that it’s the 10th most diverse college in America. 40% of students are white; 10% are African American, 6% are Hispanic; 23% are Asian and 21% are other. Niche.com places it at 17th for diversity. Time Money places it at 42nd, noting that its 92% African American graduation rate is incredible. And the college engages in a range of activities that promote its strong diversity. For example, musicians from all over the world come to play their music, and exhibitions celebrating other cultures are always happening.
15. Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd is US News’s fifth-best liberal arts college for diversity. Price Economics places it at ninth. Niche.com places it at 28th. However, its African American representation is low, at just 1%. But the African American population of the college is showing growth, rising from seven students to 32 in the last eight years. Additionally, its white population is falling, shrinking from 451 in 2010 to 286 in 2017. This shows that while Harvey Mudd is still unequal, it is becoming more diverse every year. And the college has been on a mission to improve its campus diversity since 2000, meaning that for those who are admitted, the college is friendly and welcoming.
14. Wellesley College
French Cultural Studies Program
This liberal arts college is well regarded by most methodology lists. Price Economics considers it to be the fourth most diverse liberal arts college in America. The site states that it has a 41% white, 6% African American, 12% Hispanic, 22% Asian and 19% other population. It also places at sixth on US News’s list, 17th on Time Money’s list (which notes its 95% African American graduation rate) and 90th on Niche.com’s list. And the college has taken it upon itself to become even better at equality. In 2015, it created a commission for ethnicity, race and equity issues. Its findings have resulted in initiatives to add a system for biased incident reporting, hire more diverse faculty, launch unconscious bias training initiatives and more.
13. Stony Brook University
This Long Island-based college has something for everyone. Stony Brook’s environs are beautifully rural, but they’re also just an hour’s drive from Queens, New York. Price Economics states that it has the seventh most diverse national university population in America. 38% are white; 7% are African American; 10% are Hispanic; 24% are Asian, and 21% are other. Niche.com’s student reviews place the college at 67th best for diversity in America. US News places it at 43rd. Time Money places it at 46th. Lastly, it places at 20th on Diverse Education. This gives it the distinction of being featured on every methodology list. And its strong rankings stand to grow considerably in future years. In 2017, Stony Brook established the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer. This office is dedicated to making the diverse activities of Stony Brook even greater in the future.
12. Rice University
Texas may not be regarded as the most diverse and welcoming state in America, but Rice University is different. This Houston based college has the fifth most diverse student body of any national university according to Price Economics. That source lists Rice University as having a student body that is 39% white, 6% African American, 13% Hispanic, 20% Asian and 22% other. Niche.com places it at 36th for diversity. US News places it at 30th. Time Money places it at 23rd. If these methodology sources weren’t good enough, Rice University also points out that it is number one on Princeton Review for race/class interaction. Additionally, Rice’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is one of the best of its kind in the country. It curates events, services, and awards that help the diverse education of the college.
11. Andrews University
US News considers Andrews University to be the most diverse national university in America. Niche.com’s student-led rankings place the college at eighth. But it doesn’t feature on any other list. Andrews University has certainly put a lot of effort into making its campus more diverse, and this can be seen in its rankings on US News over the years. In 2008, Andrews ranked 13th on its diversity list, but this has only been increasing since. The current list is the first time the college has topped US News’s diversity chart. Andrews University is a Seventh-Day Adventist college, and it uses its religious values as a guide for including all cultural backgrounds.
10. Bryn Mawr College
Price Economics names Bryn Mawr the sixth most diverse liberal arts college in America. It has a 37% white population, 5% African American population, 10% Hispanic Population, 11% Asian population and 37% other population. US News places it at 13th for liberal arts college diversity. Niche.com’s student-led reviews place it at 15th of all colleges in America. And Bryn Mawr has been doing some great things for minorities. For instance, in the last year, four out of seven faculty tenure track positions went to people of color and open conversation lunches for diversity were organized to happen every week on an ongoing basis.
9. New York University
Civil and Urban Engineering Program
Diverse Education specifically cites New York University’s engineering school as being a great example of diversity. The source places it at second. The other methodology lists rank the whole college. US News places it at 35th. Niche.com places it at 10th. Price Economics places it at ninth, stating that 39% of students are white, 4% are African American, 10% are Hispanic, 18% are Asian and 29% are other. NYU is another college that has been doing lots in recent years to ensure that diversity is well managed and that all students are happy. In 2015, it created the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Task Force, which helps ensure that all diversity-related issues at the college are addressed. This task force is made up of 32 members of the college and includes deans, faculty, students and other college members.
8. Swarthmore College
Physics and Astronomy Program
This Pennsylvania based liberal arts college makes three lists but places in the top 10 on all. It’s fifth on Niche.com’s rankings and ninth on US News’s list. Lastly, it’s third on Price Economics‘s list. Swarthmore College engages with diversity in a number of innovative and engaging events. One is called the imagINe project, which encourages people of different backgrounds to inspire one another with their perspectives. Another is SwatDeck, which brings communication, “into unexpected places with unexpected players.” What this means is that students get free travel and spending money to go into Philadelphia. However, each student receives a playing card. The playing cards match students up into groups of four, and they have to spend the day in Philadelphia with one another.
7. University of San Francisco
Japanese Studies Program
This college tops Diverse Education’s minority college list, noting its generous financial aid policies in particular. It is sixth on US News’s list and seventh on Niche.com’s list. And the University of San Francisco is incredibly proud of its diverse student base and has several initiatives running to encourage diverse inclusion. For instance, it has the Intercultural Center, which offers a wide range of services and events for diversity on campus. Additionally, there are over 100 student clubs that specialize in diverse interests.
6. Princeton University
Time Money considers Princeton University to be the best college for African Americans. While its enrollment is not astoundingly high, at 6%, 93% of these students graduates. And they gain an early career salary of $60,500 on average. Princeton University also performs well on Niche.com and Price Economics, where it places at 27th in both instances. US News ranks it at 48th. And Princeton is expanding its diversity friendly services for all students. In 2016, it opened new cultural affinity spaces, launched training programs and renovated its center for equality and cultural understanding.
5. Pomona College
This college tops Niche.com’s student review led rankings on diversity, with over 300 reviews citing its excellent equality opportunities. Time Money places Pomona at 39th on its list and cites that it has a 92% African American graduation rate. US News considers it to be the seventh most diverse liberal arts college. Lastly, Price Economics names it the fifth most diverse liberal arts college in America. And Pomona is one of several colleges on this list that have taken recent efforts to become more diverse. For instance, now faculty members must be attentive to diversity in the student body to qualify for tenure. It has also created a plan to become significantly more diverse by 2025. This plan involves increasing access to inclusive opportunities, creating a friendly climate and community, improving scholarship and learning opportunities for minorities and developing its institutional commitment to diversity further. If these efforts mean more minority students can benefit from Pomona’s incredible graduation rates, then that will be a great thing!
4. Amherst College
Amherst is Price Economics’s most diverse liberal arts college. The site states that it has a 42% white population, 12% African American population, 13% Hispanic population, 12% Asian population and 21% other population. Niche.com ranks it at sixth for diversity. US News ranks it at eighth. Time Money places it at 19th. Amherst is highly welcoming to prospective minority students and ensures that they feel confident in applying. It does this by hosting diversity open houses that encourage prospective students to see how inclusive it is. Additionally, it creates diversity interns out of current students, who reach out to minority students to ensure that Amherst has what they are looking for.
3. Harvard University
History and Literature Program
This world-famous college is great for diversity. Every methodology list features it within its top 40 colleges for minorities. Niche.com places it at 35th, with over 600 student reviews backing this claim up. US News has it at 34th. Price Economics states that it’s the 22nd most diverse national university in America demographically. Diverse Education places it at fourth, noting that white and African American graduation rates are almost equal. Time Money places it at second, stating that it has an early career salary of just $500 less than the top entry on the list. Harvard has tutors that are specifically focused on ensuring that race relations are positive among the whole community every day.
2. Columbia University
The top minority college for New York City, one of the most diverse places on the globe, is Columbia University. Price Economics considers it to be the fourth most diverse college in America. Its students are 39% white, 9% African American, 12% Hispanic, 18% Asian and 22% other. Additionally, Niche.com places it at 16th, with more than 1,000 student reviews that are filled with claims that the college is a great place for all. US News places it at 22nd for diversity. Time Money places it at 11th, noting that it has an incredible 90% graduation rate for African Americans, which is more than double the national average. And Columbia is doing lots to make sure diversity is represented everywhere. For instance, in the last 12 years, the college has spent $85 million on recruiting diverse faculty members. And Columbia has recently announced that it is spending another $100 million on this in the next five years.
1. Stanford University
Ethics in Society Program
This college features on all but one methodology list. When looking at the different demographics of the college, Price Economics shows that Stanford has the most ethnically mixed population of any national university. 38% of students are white; 20% are Asian; 16% are Hispanic; 8% are African American, and 20% are other. This makes it the most diverse college in America. But it isn’t just the mix of students that makes Stanford University a top choice for minority college students. Niche.com’s student-led rankings place the college at 11th for most diverse colleges. The many reviews on the site attest to how the college is welcoming for everyone. US News considers it to be the fourth most diverse national university in America. Diverse Education places it at eighth. There are several reasons as to why Stanford secures such strong rankings on these sites. While it’s an expensive college, Stanford provides financial grants to any students who can’t afford its tuition. And Stanford has a holistic approach to admitting students. That means you don’t necessarily need to have gone to a top high school or got the best GPA. If you can demonstrate that you’ll provide a unique, valuable perspective, then you can get in!