An Analysis of Ethnic-Racial Diversity: Identifying the Enrollment, Demographics, and Challenges for STEM Programs in Higher Educational Institutions

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As suggested by Briggs (2016), an analysis of the demographics, enrollment, and population of randomly selected STEM programs is needed to understand how successful they are. “Historically, underrepresented minority groups, which constitute about 25% of the US population and 17.9 of undergraduate students, make up only 2.5% of students in STEM majors and 6% of the entire U.S. science and engineering workforce” (Committee on Prospering, 2007; Piper & Krehbiel, 2015, p. 20). The purpose of this study is to determine if higher education institutions are following the U.S. Department of Education expectations. Based on a 2019 report by the U.S. Department of Education titled Education Indicators in STEM degrees, the requirements for a diverse STEM program where students are U.S. citizens and permanent residents includes awarding over 18% of bachelor’s degrees to females, awarding over 18% to Caucasian students, awarding over 33% to Asian students, awarding over 15% to Hispanic/Latino students, and awarding over 12% to African American students (National Center for Education Statistics, Indicator 26: STEM Degrees, 2019, p. 2). In this research, I analyzed enrollment and diversity reports and data made accessible by select universities in the northeast, mid-west, south and western parts of the United States. Universities were selected from Rochester, NY, Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, and Columbus, OH. Results indicate that Caucasian and Asian student are the majority in STEM (especially in Rochester, NY, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY and Columbus, OH, promoting STEM in colleges and universities located in rural and suburban areas (meaning any location in the U.S. either north, south, east or west) remains challenging, and the number of immigrants enrolled in STEM appears to grow but only in urban settings. Suburban and rural area with heavily Caucasian populations will not see diverse programs.

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  • 02/02/2024
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