be able to get in and don’t apply because they don’t think they’re going to get in–that the bar is too high,” he says. But Whittaker points out that a big reason he went to Harvard University (besides the high academic standards) was that the school offered him a generous financial aid package. And Christ adds, “It’s important not to look at the sticker price but the amount the family is going to pay. It’s really about going to the very best college the student aspires to attend.”
CALCULATING THE DAYSTAR RATING
Colleges were selected to be in our analysis based on one of two criteria: 1) They are accredited four-year colleges with an African American student enrollment of at least 3%; or 2) Every other college that did not meet criteria one but is a large or well-known university (e.g., the University of Utah, New Mexico State University, etc.). The goal was to be as inclusive as possible without including schools of little interest to black students. This process resulted in 482 colleges.
OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS
We compiled a list of 1,855 African American professionals in higher education from membership lists of professional organizations, news reports, and other sources, and mailed each of them a questionnaire. The professionals held titles such as president, chancellor, vice president, vice chancellor, provost, dean, assistant dean, department chair, director of admissions, admissions counselor, and college recruiter. They were all employed by one of the 482 universities in the study. The questionnaire asked them to rate colleges based on whether they felt the schools were a good social and educational environment for African American students. Each school was rated on the following scale: 2=strongly recommended, 1=recommended, 0=neutral, -1=not recommended, -2=strongly not recommended. Each school was categorized according to the college classification protocol developed by U.S. News and World Report, which is a modified version of the protocol developed by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Each survey respondent was asked to rate only schools that were in the same classification as the school where he or she was employed. Survey respondents were asked to rate only schools that they felt they knew enough about to have an opinion. Of the 936 persons surveyed, 409 (43.7%) completed the questionnaire providing usable data.
Calculating The Daystar Rating
The DayStar rating was calculated by developing a regression-based weighted multiplicative index combining four variables: 1) percentage of African American undergraduate students; 2) the school’s DayStar rating from 2001; 3) average survey score for the school’s social environment for African American students; and 4) average survey score for the school’s educational environment for African American students.