Posted on November 20, 2023

HKS Reports More Than 50 Percent Drop in Black and African American Students Since 2021

Asher J. Montgomery, Harvard Crimson, November 15, 2023

The Harvard Kennedy School saw a more than 50 percent drop in enrolled students identifying as Black or African American in 2023 as compared to 2021, according to an annual diversity report released by the school Tuesday morning.

The number of Black or African American students at HKS dropped from 68 in 2021 to 31 this year. The school has also seen a drop overall in the proportion of enrolled American students and does not provide race and ethnicity data on international students.

The proportion of HKS students who identify as Black or African American dropped to nearly 7 percent of American students in 2023, compared to 9 percent in 2022 and 11 percent in 2021. The report also showed a decrease in the proportion of Latinx students — from approximately 13 percent of American students in 2021 to 10 percent in 2023.

The percentage of U.S. students who identify as Asian American increased from 18 to 25 percent of American students over the last two years. The proportion of white students from the U.S. remained the same at 51 percent.


According to the email, the Kennedy School is also mandating implicit bias training for degree program admissions readers as well as several initiatives to increase financial aid services at HKS, including the creation of an application fee waiver.


History, race, and public policy professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad said in an interview last month that he noticed a significant drop in the number of Black students in the master in public policy program just from his own classes — a change he called a “severe problem.”

Faculty have said increasing the school’s diversity should be a major priority in the ongoing search for a new Kennedy School dean.

“I think the new dean should be as aggressive as possible to ensure that the population of the school at all levels from administration to faculty, staff, and students, reflects the lived and professional experiences of people from every group in society,” Muhammad said.