Universities Record Drop In Black Admissions
By Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 22, 2004; Page A01
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Despite winning a marathon Supreme Court struggle last year to continue using race as a factor in admitting students, the University of Michigan is reporting the smallest class of African American freshmen in 15 years.
A similar decline in the number of incoming black students has been recorded at many state universities across the country, from California to Georgia to much of the Midwest. The trend has alarmed and puzzled college admissions officers, who place great importance on targeting and recruiting talented minorities.
"You don't see many people of color in the dorms. I feel a little isolated," said humanities student Ashley Gilbert, one of 350 black freshmen enrolled this year at the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus, where there are 5,730 students in the entering class. The number of black students is down from 410 last year and nearly 500 in 2001.
The pattern is by no means uniform - both the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia report steady numbers of African Americans enrolling - but it is sufficiently widespread to cause concern among university presidents and students alike. State flagship institutions appear to be experiencing the biggest declines, while some private universities and many community colleges and second-tier state schools are reporting an increase in minority enrollment.
There is no single explanation for the drop in African American enrollment, officials at the University of Michigan and other colleges say. But one important factor is the unexpected fallout from the June 2003 Supreme Court decision, which required the University of Michigan and many other schools to change their entrance procedures to evaluate applicants individually rather than automatically award extra admissions points to minority students […].
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