How to make college campuses diverse

This fall we read why Winona State University has a higher-than-average rate of diversity compared to its local public-sector neighbors.

Recently The Hechinger Report lauded Minnesota private colleges for their success in creating and keeping diverse student bodies, telling U.S. higher-ed institutions:

They’d do well to pay a little attention to some Minnesota success stories. For almost the tenth consecutive year the number of minorities enrolled in the 17 four-year, liberal arts schools that belong to the Minnesota Private College Council has increased [PDF]. This year, 17 percent of incoming freshmen statewide are minorities, as are nearly 23 percent of transfers.

That’s an increase of more than 112 percent over the last decade. The number of Latino students entering has increased an eye-popping 143 percent, while African-American enrollment is up almost 107 percent. And — just as crucial — the colleges are retaining more minorities from one year to the next.

The writer focuses on the examples of St. Catherine University and Augsburg College.

You can read the whole story here, but I’ve teased out the elements that seem to make those institutions successful.

They:

  • forge strong relationships in the community;
  • including families in the recruiting process;
  • provide peer mentors for freshmen;
  • offer a financial literacy program;
  • have a diversified staff;
  • engage staff in cultural competency programming;
  • offer scholarships; and
  • recruit heavily from community colleges.