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02-23-2000

NACME Report: Clarkson Ranks 11th Nationally In Minority Student Retention

Clarkson University ranks among the top 25 engineering institutions in minority retention rates, according a report published by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).

The report, “Keeping What We’ve Got: The Impact of Financial Aid on Minority Retention in Engineering,” ranks Clarkson 11th in minority freshman retention, placing it ahead of such schools as Purdue University, Tulane University, Duke University, the University of Southern California and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Clarkson’s 61 percent minority retention rate is well above the national average of 36.5 percent.

 “It is encouraging that Clarkson has done such a good job in creating an environment that attracts and retains successful minority engineering students,” says Clarkson University President Denny Brown.  “We must continue our efforts to attract the best and brightest students of all colors to Clarkson and its exceptional engineering programs.”

“We are extremely satisfied and gratified by the number of minority students who choose to enroll at and earn their degrees from Clarkson,” says Julius P. Mitchell, director of the Pipeline of Educational Programs (PEP).  “But all of the credit goes to the students.  We assist them financially and academically, but they deserve the real credit for doing what it takes to succeed here. It is extremely encouraging to have such a high retention rate.  We are doing something right.”

Mitchell also gives credit to financial aid packages and strong academic support from the PEP staff.  “We are proud of the way the staff works on a daily basis to help students accomplish their goals of getting a quality education,” he says.

Mitchell adds that there is room for improvement.  “We must strive to increase the number of minority students who come to Clarkson,” he says.  “We must also work to bring more faculty and staff of color to the University. In doing so, we create a more diverse campus, and that is good for all involved.”

The report is based on an analysis of entering freshman classes from 1991-93 and graduating classes from 1996-98 from more than 100 schools.  According to the study, minority students entering a college engineering program as freshmen are half as likely to graduate with a bachelor of science in engineering as non-minority students, which is down from a rate of nearly 60 percent in 1995. The report also cites financial aid as an important factor in improving the retention of minority students.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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