By Jenifer Martinez-Peraza | September 26, 2022
Photo Credit: Patrick Dodson/University at Albany Digital Media
This year’s freshman class is on track to have the highest percentage of students who identify as Black or Latino, historically underrepresented communities, in the university’s history, according to university officials.
According to Communications Director Jordan Carleo-Evangelist and the UAlbany website, the preliminary data on diversity indicate that 44.7% of about 2,700 freshmen are from underrepresented groups this year. That figure, he added, is expected to grow when the numbers are finalized in October.
There are many ways universities measure diversity on campus. “One way to measure diversity,” Carleo-Evangelist said, “is to look at the percentage of students who identify as coming from a background historically underrepresented in higher education. For us in the Northeast, that largely refers to Black and Latino students.”
One program that has been put in place last month to improve diversity in the future is a new five-year $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to improve diversity of students in STEM disciplines, said Carleo-Evangelist.
This semester’s data compares to the 43.2% of incoming Freshman in Fall 2021 who identified as Black and Latino. In 2014, that figure was 29%.
That 44.7% among the incoming freshman class "is the highest percentage of underrepresented students in the history of UAlbany,” said Carleo-Evangelist, adding that UAlbany is one of the most diverse research institutions in the U.S. For example, Stony Brook has a population of 14% Latino students and 6% Black students overall. Binghamton has an enrollment of 5% Black students and 13% Latino students, whereas UAlbany has a student population of 21% Black students and 18% Latino students.
Having more diversity on campus is important, “because as a state university, our student body should look like the people of New York,” Carleo-Evangelist said, adding that the university also has an “extremely strong track record of student success among underrepresented students.”