With the increasing minority population in the United States, much attention has been given to the lack of diversity among health care professionals, specifically nursing. Since the 1960s, the federal government has provided financial resources to institutions of higher education whose purpose was to diversify the health care profession. Historically, these resources have supported initiatives that primarily focused on the recruitment of minority students into higher education. These efforts temporarily increased the enrollment of students from varying racial and ethnic backgrounds. However, without established retention initiatives in place, the attrition rates for students from diverse backgrounds far exceeded the enrollment rates. Consequently, the nursing workforce continues to be a predominantly White female profession. In order for schools of nursing to create a workforce reflective of its patient population, both nursing education and institutions of higher education must be committed to implementing initiatives to increase the retention and graduation rates of minority students. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.