NEWARK, N.J.—Protests focused on entrenched racism rocked campuses around the country this year. Many top colleges enroll small numbers of black students, and the four-year college graduation rate for black students is half that of whites.
In response, many admissions officers have been scouring the country—and the globe—to attract “qualified” black and brown students, striving to meet diversity targets while avoiding students they consider “at risk” of dropping out.
But a growing group of colleges and universities think that the calculation for who is “at risk” is fundamentally wrong. They not only accept students often turned away by other four-year universities, but also aggressively recruit them, believing that their academic potential has been vastly underrated.