A new report from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities shows that while the numbers of black and Hispanic students in engineering are going up, they still lag significantly in enrollments at the undergraduate and graduate level. For example, Hispanic students make up 19 percent of college undergraduates but only 11 percent of engineering bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2016, an 8-percentage-point gap. Similar gaps are found for black students, and the gaps are even more pronounced at the graduate level.
The report was funded by the National Science Foundation.
The 122 page study goes into great detail of the future of diversity in Engineering and discovers six major findings listed below:
- Despite large numerical increases for Hispanic and Black students, these two groups along with American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI) students remain significantly underrepresented in engineering at the undergraduate and graduate level.
- From 2010-11 to 2015-16 there was a massive increase in Non-U.S. Resident graduates in engineering at all levels, especially master’s degree where this group is now the majority of master’s degree earners.
- The gender disparity transcends URG and majority groups in similar ways with women earning fewer degrees than men, even though in 2015-2016, the majority of degree earners in all fields of study combined are female.
- At the institutional level there is a high concentration of each URG in a small number of institutions which contrast with a large number of institutions with little to no racial or ethnic diversity in their engineering programs.
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) continue to play an important role in educating Black and Hispanic students in engineering.
- States with majority-minority or emerging majority-minority college age population are failing to educate a large enough share of their URG students in engineering.