Will the New Admissions Procedures at the University of California Lead to an Increase in Black Enrollments?

The board of regents at the University of California has made major changes in admissions procedures. While the new plan is designed to place less emphasis on test scores, it is unclear whether the changes will improve the admission prospects of black students.

Under the new procedures, students will no longer be required to submit scores from two SAT II subject tests in order to be considered for admission. Because black students on average score at least 15 percent lower than white students on these tests, the change is seen as welcome in efforts to achieve greater racial diversity on the University of California campuses.

At the current time, to automatically qualify for admission to one of the nine undergraduate campuses in the system, students must finish with a grade point average in the top 4 percent of their high school class or must have grades and test scores that place them in the top 12.5 percent of all students statewide.

The new system will guarantee places to only the top 9 percent of all students statewide. But other students whose academic records fall just short of the requirements, but who have other admirable qualifications, will be considered.

One analysis conducted by the university system showed that under the new procedures the number of blacks and Latinos admitted would remain the same or increase only slightly. The number of Asian students would drop significantly, and the number of white students would increase substantially.