UCLA Losing the Best Black Students to Private Universities

Chancellor Gene Block of the University of California at Los Angeles recently presented some revealing data showing how the budget crisis in California higher education and insufficient financial aid are inhibiting the university from attracting the best and brightest black students.

Under state law the university is prohibited from considering race in its admissions decisions. However, the university uses a holistic admissions procedure that takes into account a wide range of factors to evaluate candidates. The factors include not only grades and test scores but leadership, personal achievements, and a history of overcoming disadvantages. Each applicant is then assigned a “holistic rank.”

About 15 percent of all applicants to UCLA receive the highest holistic rank of “1.” In 2009 this group of applicants included 75 blacks who were offered admission. Only seven of these black students decided to enroll at UCLA. A follow-up survey of the academically gifted black students who were admitted to UCLA but went elsewhere found the main reason for not enrolling at UCLA was that these students received a more attractive financial aid package from private colleges and universities.

Chancellor Block warns that the proposed 32 percent hike in student fees at UCLA and other University of California campuses is going to drive more of these top black students to private colleges and universities that can offer better financial aid packages.