Private Scholarship Fund Established to Boost Black Enrollments at UCLA

In the current academic year there are only about 100 black first-year students at the University of California at Los Angeles. They make up just 2 percent of the entering class. This is the lowest level of black first-year enrollments since the 1960s.

UCLA is prohibited by state law from using race as a factor in its admissions decisions. This year, for the first time, UCLA has instituted a new “holistic admissions” program where officers look at an applicant’s entire life experience rather than simply grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. Leadership, ability to overcome disadvantage, and other factors are now considered. It is hoped that the new holistic approach will result in a more racially diverse entering class. However, it must be noted that the University of California at Berkeley has had a similar “comprehensive review” admissions program for several years. And blacks are only 3 percent of the first-year class at Berkeley.

Now a private group led by Los Angeles businessman Peter J. Taylor and other UCLA alumni have formed a scholarship fund for black students. The fund hopes to be able to offer $1,000 to each admitted black student who decides to enroll at UCLA. Some black students may be awarded as much as $9,000 from the fund if they continue on at UCLA. Because the effort is not affiliated directly with the university and is administered by a private group, it appears that the new scholarship program reserved for African Americans does not violate state prohibitions.