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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Bruce Shepard

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April 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Why colleges are pushing diversity

Last week, Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard drew sharp criticism from conservative groups for saying that Western needed to attract more minority students. About 76 percent of the school’s enrollment is white.

It’s worth stepping back  for context on the issue and a look at how the state’s young adult population is expected to shift in the coming decades.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which does demographic research to predict what future classes of high-school graduates will look like, projects a steady decrease in the number of white students graduating from Washington high schools. Indeed, the percentage of white students reached its peak in 2010-11 with a high of about 48,000, and is expected to drop to 38,000 by 2027.

Whites make up about 68 percent of public high-school grads in Washington today, and in 2020, will make up 65 percent. Among public high-school graduating classes, whites will remain a majority in Washington through 2028 — but just by a sliver.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Bruce Shepard, demographics, higher ed