Changing face: how the student demographic is changing

Class sizes are increasing, but some racial groups are not growing at the same rate.

While Temple has set records for the most applicants and the student population has grown four years in a row, the percentage of Black students enrolled has decreased every academic year since 2005-06.

According to data The Temple News collected from Temple’s Student Profiles and Fact Books, the university’s undergraduate population was 18.7 percent Black in 2005-06. This year, despite an undergraduate population that’s increased by almost 5,000 students, Black students only make up 12.53 percent of students. The total number of black students decreased from 4,591 in 2005-06 to 3,685 in 2016-17.

The percentages of Hispanic, Latino and Asian students increased over the last 12 years, while the percentage of students who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native fluctuated. Currently, 0.11 percent of students are American Indian/Alaska native. White students have made up more than half of the undergraduate population since at least 2005, never dipping below 55 percent.


“We like to think of ourselves as Philadelphia’s public university, and we know there is a diverse population in Philadelphia,” said William Black, the senior vice provost of enrollment management.

According to 2010 census data, 43.4 percent of Philadelphia residents are Black, which is 30.9 percent more than the percentage of Black students currently enrolled at Temple. The census data also shows that white people make up 41 percent of Philadelphia’s population. Temple has a larger proportion of white people in its undergraduate student body, at about 55 percent.

The Community College of Philadelphia, while not a university, is the only other public institution of higher education in the city. CCP reported on its webpage under “Key Facts” that 51.8 percent of its 30,194 students taking credit and noncredit courses are Black. White students only make up a quarter of the student population and Hispanic and Latino students make up 13.6 percent.

Student Profiles and TU Fact Books also report the residency of enrolled students. Nearly 30 percent of students are non-Pennsylvania residents, a percentage that has decreased since 2012-13, when the string of record-breaking applicants began.

Black said an increase in students will cause fluctuation for racial demographics.

“I would like to emphasize that the student profile at Temple is one that is very, very balanced and has remained that way for many, many years,” he said.

Black said race is not used as a criterion when recruiting or accepting students, and the office is generally focused on “talent and diversity.” He added that incoming students often name racial and socioeconomic diversity in the student body as one of the reasons they chose to attend.

Black said recruiting students in local and out-of-state areas that “yield a diverse applicant pool,” like Atlanta, is built into the Office of Admissions’ strategy from the start. There is also a full-time staff member solely responsible for recruiting Philadelphia high school students, he added.

Temple reaches out to prospective students in Philadelphia through recruiting trips to high schools, charter schools and Catholic schools, along with the 20/20 scholarships — 25 $5,000 awards given to students living in the 19121, 19122, 19132 and 19133 ZIP codes.

Grace Shallow can be reached at or on Twitter @grace_shallow.

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