New Admissions Policy at the University of Washington May Have a Negative Impact on Campus Racial Diversity

In order to increase tuition revenue, the University of Washington is increasing the number of students it accepts from outside the state of Washington. This year, tuition for students from outside of Washington is more than $25,000, compared to $8,700 for in-state students. As a result of the change in admission policy, there will be about 150 fewer spaces for incoming freshmen from the state of Washington.

There are concerns from some in the campus community that the change in admissions policy will have a negative impact on racial diversity on campus. More than 90 percent of all minority students at the University of Washington are in-state students.

At the present time, blacks make up about 3 percent of the 33,000-member undergraduate student body at the Seattle campus. By state law, the University of Washington is prohibited from considering race in its admissions decisions.

Sheila Edwards Lange, chief diversity officer at the University of Washington, told a local television reporter that “the Seattle campus could become more white and upper-middle class.” To counter the impact of accepting more out-of-state students, Dr. Lange stepped up efforts to increase the yield of black and other minority students who are accepted for admission. Accepted students received letters and telephone calls urging them to enroll at the University of Washington. Many accepted minority students from across the state were invited to come to Seattle to experience the university firsthand.

Dr. Lange is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine. She holds a master’s degree in public administration and an educational doctorate from the University of Washington.