As college students across the country gear up for another school year, a pervasive problem persists: Students of color are still largely underrepresented at top universities. A New York Times analysis published Thursday shows that even with affirmative action efforts, Black and Latinx students' overall representation at 100 of the nation's most prestigious schools hasn't improved in the past 35 years. In fact, students of color are even less represented today than they were in 1980.
Students of color still face more inequalities that make it difficult to get into elite universities, despite national affirmative action policies which allow schools to consider race and ethnicity when choosing to grant admission. For one, Black and Latinx kids are more likely to go to schools with fewer resources, where the majority of students come from low-income homes.
Black students currently make up just 6% of freshmen at top colleges, but represent 15% of college-age Americans, according to The Times. Similarly, Latinxs constitute 22% of the college-age population, but only 13% of freshmen. The number of Black students at the best universities has remained stagnant for the past three decades. The number of Latinx students has risen, but increases in the college-aged population means the overall representation of both groups has actually decreased on campuses.
Diversity at Ivy League schools specifically has improved a little more than at other elite colleges, with Black students making up 9% of freshman and Latinx students 15%. At the same time, white enrollment at Ivy Leagues has gone down as the number of Asian students increased, though that rise is beginning to slow down.
For advanced degrees, the statistics are even worse for people of color: Just 8% of doctoral degrees granted in 2015 from all U.S. universities were to Black students and 7% to Latinx students.
Refinery29 talked to six Black and Latinx Ivy League students about their experiences on campus. Here's what they had to say.