Colleges Straining To Restore Diversity

Career College Central summary:

  • Since California banned the use of affirmative action in admissions 18 years ago, officials at the statewide university system say minority enrollment at the most competitive campuses, in Berkeley and Los Angeles, has slid. With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to rule on race-conscious college-admissions policies, University of California officials filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court's review of a nearly identical ban at Michigan's public universities.
  • "The UC experience is highly relevant," their brief said. Nearly two decades after the ban passed, "the University of California still struggles to enroll a student body that encompasses the broad racial diversity of the state."
  • The takeaway from UC's experience isn't clear-cut. The percentage of admitted Latino and African-American resident applicants at the UC system's most competitive campuses in Berkeley and Los Angeles dropped to 12% in 2013 from about 46% before Proposition 209's affirmative-action ban was approved by voters in 1996.But several scholars—at UC and elsewhere—say the university has overstated the negative impact of Prop. 209, pointing to research that shows the number of minority students at UC overall has grown and these students' graduation rates have improved.
  • While the numbers of incoming African-American students is down at the two most elite campuses, and Latino enrollment at both hasn't kept pace with California's fast-rising Latino population, the percentage of incoming freshmen Latino and African-American resident students roughly doubled during the same period across UC's undergraduate campuses. Now nearly two decades after Prop. 209 was passed, affirmative action in college admissions is at a crossroads.

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