Harvard Ranks First in Black Student Yield

Harvard leads for third year in a row in effort to attract black students

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has ranked Harvard first in terms of black student yield for the third year in a row.

Harvard’s black student yield for the Class of 2010—70.9 percent—is still 9.1 percent lower than its overall yield rate of 80 percent.

The University slipped from second to fifth place in the ranking in terms of black student enrollment as a percent of the entire class. Black students comprised 9.3 percent of both the Class of 2009 and 2010, The Crimson reported.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranked first in terms of black student enrollment for the sixth time in the last eight years, with black students making up 12.3 percent of its freshman class last year. Stanford, Duke, Columbia, and Vanderbilt universities ranked second, third, and fourth, respectively.

Following Harvard in the black student yield category were MIT with a yield of 66.4 percent and Stanford University with a yield of 61.4 percent. \

“We are obviously very pleased to have such a high yield,” William R. Fitzsimmons ’67, dean of admissions and financial aid, said. Fitzsimmons credited the Undergraduate Minority Recruiting Program and Harvard’s Financial Aide Initiative, with helping Harvard attract talented black students, who are highly sought after by top universities.

“To produce future leaders you need to do what we have been doing and what we will continue to do, which is reach out aggressively to students of all backgrounds,” Fitzsimmons said.

This year, the Harvard Admissions Office released black student yield but did not release the number of black applicants, said Robert B. Slater, managing editor of The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE). Two hundred and twenty black students were accepted into the Class of 2010, and 156 enrolled.

“Yield shows that Harvard is still a very attractive place for black students. I think that the fact that such a large percentage of the black students that Harvard accepts decide to go there speaks a lot about your university and its reputation,” Slater said.

S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, commended Harvard’s commitment to diversity, but said that the University could do more to support minority students once they arrive on campus.

“African-American students complain to me regularly about the paucity of African-Americans in visible positions here in the administration and otherwise,” Counter said. “Outside of African-American Studies, we see very few African-Americans here who are available to give the African-American students the kind of nurturing they need in an environment in which they remain a small minority.”

Chaz M. Beasley ’08, a member of the Harvard Black Students Association, said of the statistics, “It’s positive that now roughly ten percent of Harvard’s undergrads are black, where as thirty years ago you could count the number of black students on one hand. It is an improvement, but I don’t think that an improvement is an ultimate victory.”

The Journal’s report will be published in its Fall issue.