Report: Students in working class, low-income, racial minority backgrounds under-enrolled in Virginia institutions


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WASHINGTON (WAVY) — A Virginia nonprofit and advocacy organization’s recent issue brief says students from working class, low-income, and racial minority backgrounds are under-enrolled in the state’s leading public and private colleges.

Education Reform Now (ERN), a non-partisan, nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization that promotes increased resources and innovative reforms in K-16 public education in Virginia, says that of the worst 15 public colleges and universities in the United States on working class and low-income student enrollment, about one-third are in Virginia.

ERN officials say that the University of Virginia, The College of William & Mary, James Madison University, Christopher Newport University, and Virginia Military Institute all rank especially poorly and underperformed compared to institutions with similar standards across the country.

Also in the report, officials noted that although 34% of 18 to 24-year-olds in the Commonwealth are Black and Hispanic, only 3 in the state’s 15 public four-year institutions of higher education enroll Black and Hispanic students matching those numbers. Two of those four institutions are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

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