News Stories

Segregation in the Business World

An all-white future? - We all know about segregation in elementary and high schools, but segregation in BUSINESS SCHOOLS can affect the way the US will look in the future. When you walk into an office, will it be an all-white world?

Diversity in university business schools, and ultimately the US workforce, could be another casualty of a deep and lingering economic downturn. As tuition rises to offset economy-driven revenue declines, business schools will face a stiffer challenge to maintain enrollment among lower-income students. Business school dean Larry DeBrock thinks enrollment among lower-income students will dip as universities boost tuition to make up for declining support in recession-drained state budgets. Universities also will find it tougher to help students bridge the cost gap, as the sour economy stretches campus finances and scales back dollars available for financial aid.

DeBrock says, "The mission of a great public university is to provide a depth of student diversity, whether based on socioeconomic or ethnic criteria. Businesses prize diversity, too, and want workforces that reflect America and its varied walks of life."

Census data show that minorities would the hardest hit by rising college costs, with 25.5% of blacks and 21.5% of Hispanics living in poverty, compared with 10.5% of whites.But all students could feel the pinch. DeBrock says, "We're going to have to work harder than ever to secure financial aid for these underrepresented students. I doubt it's going to come from state funds, so we'll have to rely on the generosity of our donors, hoping they'll be willing to open doors and provide the kind of start in life that they had."

But the future isn't all bleak: he also thinks that business schools will re-emphasize ethics training in the wake of failed investment strategies and other alleged missteps cited as causes of the economic meltdown.

But new business school grads can't get jobs until the current workers retire and this is a lot less likely than it used to be. But while many workers can no longer AFFORD to retire, staying on the job helps stave off Alzheimer's by keeping the brain healthy.

BBC News quotes researcher Rebecca Wood as saying, "More people than ever retire later in life to avert financial hardship, but there may be a silver lining: lower dementia risk."

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