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New ED Report Highlights Promising Practices for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

December 12, 2016

While the share of Latino and African-American students earning high school diplomas has increased over time, bachelor's degree attainment hasn't kept up the pace, according to a new study from the Department of Education.

The gap is widening between college degree attainment among white students and students who identify as underrepresented racial or ethnic minorities, the report, Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, found. The difference in degree attainment between Latino and white adults grew from 9 percentage points in 1974 to 20 points in 2014, for example. These gaps in bachelor's degree attainment are strongly correlated with racial/ethnic differences in annual earnings.

Increasing access to higher education among racial/ethnic minority groups is key for narrowing these gaps, according to the report, and it outlines several examples of successful initiatives colleges and universities have implemented to meet diversity and inclusion needs. These practices include an institutional commitment to promoting student body diversity and inclusion, diversity across all levels of a campus, outreach and recruitment of prospective students, support services for students, and inclusive campus climate practices. However, future work in these areas requires continued research and other activities, the report concludes.

The report is available on the Department of Education's website.

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