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College enrollments are declining in the US. Should we be worried?

Cornell University Campus
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Are 4-year colleges losing their luster? An autumn view of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, showing McGraw Tower, Uris Library and Ho Plaza in fall, as seen from Barnes Hall. (photo © Lindsay France / Cornell University Marketing Group)

After the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Black student enrollment in college grew exponentially, from fewer than 300,000 students in 1966 to two and half million in 2010. But in the decade between 2010 and 2020, overall college enrollment fell, and Black enrollment plummeted even more.

The Supreme Court will take-up two affirmative action cases this term, which begins in three weeks. If race-based consideration in college admissions is disallowed, what will that mean for diversity on college campuses moving forward?

We’ll consider that question a little later in the show, but first, we begin with Oyin Adedoyin, who writes about campus culture for The Chronicle of Higher EducationShe joins Tom here in Studio A. Her article in this month’s issue is entitled “What Happened to Black Enrollment?”

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(L-R) Oyin Adedoyin, campus culture reporter, The Chronicle of Higher Education; Jon Marcus, higher education reporter, The Hechinger Report (courtesy photos)

And Tom is joined on Zoom by Jon Marcus, a writer and editor focusing on higher education for The Hechinger Report, which covers inequality and innovation in education. He published a story last month called “How Higher Education Lost its Shine.”

Tom's guests for the second half of the show are Dr. Glenn Altschuler, a professor of history and an administrator at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; and David Wippman, the president of Hamilton College, a private liberal arts institution in Clinton, New York. They are co-authors of a recent article in The Hill called, “What colleges are up against if the Supreme Court bans affirmative action.”

Both men join Tom on Zoom…

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Dr. Glenn Altschuler, professor of history at Cornell University; David Wippman, president of Hamilton College (courtesy photos)

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Teria Rogers is a Supervising Producer on Midday.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.