In 2008, under-represented minorities comprised 23 percent of the total enrollment at four-year U.S. universities (13% African American, 9% Hispanic, and 1% American Indian/Alaska Native) and 18 percent of total graduates (10% African American, 7% Hispanic, and 1% American Indian/Alaska Native). To ensure future economic viability for both the country as a whole, and for the geosciences, minority graduation rates will need to approach parity with whole-population minority demographics of over 35 percent.
Minority participation in U.S. university programs (1976-2008). Source: AGI Geoscience Workforce Program, data derived from the NCES Digest of Education Statistics.
Although there has been some growth over the past few years in the percentage of underrepresented minority geoscience graduates, the geosciences are still far below all national benchmarks. The percentage of geoscience degrees conferred to Hispanics falls 41 percent short of current national graduation trends, and the percentage of geoscience degrees conferred to African Americans misses the mark by 82 percent.
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Percent of geoscience degrees conferred to minorities (2003-2008). Source: AGI Geoscience Workforce Program, data derived from IPEDS.