2 Tips for Improving Diversity and Inclusion at Your Institution

Diversity and Inclusion.  Whether your institution's goal is to attract new students to offer new experiences and world views or expand enrollment numbers, moving the needle can be a challenge.  Fortunately, there is one thing you can do to engage these candidates and achieve your diversity goals. 


Access to Technology

National Center for Education Statistics published a report illustrating the disparity in access to technology between different ethnic backgrounds and income levels.  The number of students who don't have access to the internet at home via a computer is a significant barrier to reaching them as potential students.

Number of Students without access to internet at home via a computer
Graphic showing 1/5 of Black Students

Graphic showing 1/5 of Hispanic Students

Graphic showing 1/3 of American Indian Students Graphic showing 1/3 of Pacific Islander Students
However, there is a significant number of students who can access the internet via a smartphone even when they don't otherwise have access to the internet at home.
 
Number of Students limited to accessing internet via smartphone
1/9 of Black Students

1/9 of Hispanic Students

1/8 of American Indian 1/10 Pacific Islander Students
Additionally, students from families in the lowest 50% of all family incomes are 83% more likely to have internet access limited to smartphones (1/10 of all at that income level).
 
Chart showing that 1 out of every 7 students at lowest income level only have access to smartphone, whereas the highest quartile has 1 out of 100
 
Percent of students with internet access limited to smartphones by income level
 

Mobile Access Drives Diversity

This means that institutions that optimize their admissions engagement strategy for computer access are putting these potential students at a disadvantage.  Adopt a mobile-first strategy and your institution can immediately reach an additional 10%-12% of diverse candidates.

Therefore, you can improve diversity and inclusion by doing the following:

  1. Mobile-enable your application for admission and other student systems.  This means that these systems need to be easy to use on a smartphone and be fully-functioned.
  2. Engage with candidates via text messaging and voice.  These are channels optimized for mobile devices.  Although email is available on smartphones, it isn't the optimal method of engagement on that platform.

If you want to see this in action, check out the video below, where a candidate starts the admission process on their smart phone from a flyer received at a recruiting event.

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