Does Carleton's affordability limit student of color enrollment?

A DGAH project by Karla Cruz Sanchez, Jasmine Maldonado, Bem Abebayehu, Julian Tanguma, and Nathan Wang

The Connection between Carleton’s Affordability and its Role in Fostering Diversity

In the ever-changing atmosphere of higher education, the pursuit of knowledge usually intersects with the harsh reality of financial constraints, particularly for students of color. With an increasing focus on promoting diversity, every year Carleton posts a profile on their college website based on the demographics of their incoming class. For the 2027 class, Carleton reports having 22% Asian, 10% Black or African American, 12% Hispanic or Latino, 0.8% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.4% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Additionally, 56% of the class is receiving more than $17 million in need-based grants. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), among full-year undergraduate students, 88% of Black students, 87% of American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 82% of Hispanic students received grants in 2015-2016. These percentages were higher than White or Asian students and prove that many students of color rely on FAFSA and need-based funding. Additionally, Carleton’s tuition and fees have experienced a 4% increase from the previous year making the college considerably more expensive to attend. With this in mind, our group decided to research if Carleton’s affordability limits students of color enrollment. 

A longstanding issue…

As seen in a Carletonian blogpost by Ryan McLaughlin, for several years, Carleton has been experiencing an increase in tuition and comprehensive fees, as well as, a concern for what this increase means for students of color who rely on financial aid. McLaughlin argues that Carleton does not increase financial aid relative to comprehensive fees and states the Colleges scholarship program only funds a small number of low-income students. He felt that due to these factors, Carleton was lacking in diversity because the aid was insufficient. Our research project seeks to find out if this is still a true statement. Has Carleton increased aid at all in relation to tuition and comprehensive fees? How has their increase in fees account for the diversity on campus and student of color enrollment? Has Carleton experienced an increase in diversity from past years at all?