Minorities Overrepresented in Brochures

Researcher says that 75 percent of colleges overrepresent black students in outreach materials.


A sociologist found that universities disproportionately display minority—especially black and Asian—students on their outreach brochures, Inside Higher Ed reports. After studying hundreds of viewbooks from four-year universities and comparing their diversity with the actual racial makeup of the schools, the Augsburg College researcher found that black students represented 12.4 percent of students in brochures, while they only made up 7.9 percent of students enrolled; 5.1 percent of students in viewbooks were Asian, while the reality was 3.3 percent. Seventy-five percent of colleges appeared to overrepresent black students in outreach materials.

Even consulting firms are already wise to this game. "We tell colleges that it's a mistake and they shouldn't do it, but we get overruled," said one consultant. "Sometimes you see the same black kid in every picture." The story also mentions an underrepresented group of students: ugly people. As one of the research assistants noted, the brochures were mostly filled with "hot chicks and minorities."