Small gains in admissions diversity

April 21, 2010

After the student town hall meeting in response to last year’s  April Fool’s issue of The Hoya,  President John DeGioia announced a commitment to recruit more Georgetown applicants from underrepresented groups. Although the specific initiatives of the Admissions Working Group—established  following last year’s town hall—were made after this year’s pool had been admitted, a detailed profile of students admitted to Georgetown’s class of 2014 shows marginal increases in ethnic diversity.

African-American students now make up ten percent of the accepted student body, up from nine percent last year, while Asian students now make up 14 percent, up from 12 percent last year.  The percentage of students who identified as Caucasian decreased from 55 percent of the applicant pool to 54 percent.

Admissions Working Group member Ryan Wilson (COL ’12) said the group never set percentage goals for the ethnic makeup of the admitted applicant pool.

Wilson said he was pleased with the applicant ethnicity breakdown, but was far more concerned with how diverse a student body that pool would yield.

“The numbers are nice, but I’m more interested in yield,” Wilson said. “Georgetown hasn’t really had problems getting a large number of applicants to apply, but we’ve had trouble in yielding those applicants.”

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon acknowledged the university’s low yield for low-income students in past years.

“There is an imbalance not only in ethnicity, but also socioeconomic status,” Deacon said.

In past years, about 39 percent of admitted students who requested financial aid attended Georgetown, compared with approximately 49 percent of those who did not request aid.

Deacon said that the University is working to bring in more low-income students and minority students, who tend to require financial aid, by increasing scholarship offerings. Deacon noted that 58 percent of students who received a scholarship from the Georgetown Scholarship Program last year ended up attending. Deacon said the university was looking to channel money from the Georgetown Fund into the scholarship program.

“A lot of efforts are being expended to encourage alumni to give to this program,” Deacon said.

Additionally, while the number of applicants decreased from last year for every school except the College, admission rates remained essentially unchanged. The business school saw the greatest drop in applicants, from 2,876 overall applicants last year to 2,508 this year. Deacon attributed this decline to the state of the economy.

“I think what you see is people hedging their bets; they’re not committing themselves to one field,” Deacon said, adding that in the years just before the current recession, applications to the business school had increased rapidly.

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