A New Study Confirms the Negative Impact of a Ban on Race-Sensitive Admissions on African-American College Enrollments

A new study appearing in this month’s Journal of Labor Economics finds that a ban on race-sensitive admissions would have a dramatic effect on black enrollments at the nation’s highest-ranking colleges and universities. The study, authored by Jessica S. Howell, an assistant professor of economics at Sacramento State University in California, also finds that alternative programs to take the place of race-sensitive admissions will not maintain present levels of racial diversity.

The highly sophisticated statistical analysis concludes that black enrollments at the nation’s leading colleges and universities would drop to about 2.7 percent of total enrollments if all admissions decisions were made on a race-neutral basis. Admissions plans such as the one in Texas, where the top 10 percent of all graduating students in each high school are qualified for admission to the University of Texas, are a poor substitute for race-sensitive admissions in maintaining diversity. Increasing outreach to minority students and student support programs do almost nothing to maintain racial diversity, according to the study.

Professor Howell is a graduate of James Madison University. She holds master’s degrees from Miami University in Ohio and the University of Virginia. She earned her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Virginia.

Readers interested in the entire study can download the article from the author’s Web site.