Study Finds Snail-Like Progress in Black Enrollments at the Nation’s Selective Colleges

In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Grutter case that narrowly tailored, race-sensitive admissions programs could still be used to create greater diversity in the student bodies of the nation’s colleges and universities. But a new study by Mike Mills, associate provost for university enrollment at Northwestern University, finds that since the Grutter decision, very little progress has been made in increasing the number of black students at the nation’s highest-ranked educational institutions.

The research, published in the summer issue of the Journal of College Admission, examined black student enrollments at 146 colleges and universities rated “most selective” and “highly selective” in the Barron’s Guide to Colleges. The results showed that in 2003, the year of the Grutter decision, blacks made up 5.3 percent of total enrollments at these 146 colleges. Five years later, the black percentage of total enrollments had increased to only 5.5 percent. (Note: Today, blacks are 13 percent of total enrollments in higher education.)