The Ghost of Hopwood Still Haunts Black Higher Education in Texas

In 1996 a federal appeals court ruled that the University of Texas law school could no longer use race in its admissions decisions. The ruling had a far-reaching effect on black aspirations for graduate and professional school education in Texas. Immediately after the ruling, black enrollments plummeted at the major state-operated professional schools in the state. After the 2003 Supreme Court Grutter ruling, which overturned the Hopwood decision, black enrollments have recovered at the law and medical schools of the University of Texas.

At the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, the Hopwood ruling had a major negative impact on black enrollments. In 1996 there were 26 black first-year students at the business school. The next year, after Hopwood was decided, black enrollments plummeted to six. Despite the fact that the business school now takes race into account during the admissions process, black enrollments have yet to recover. In 2005 there were just four blacks in the entering class. They made up less than 2 percent of all entering business school students.