University of Michigan Sees 23 Percent Decline in Minority Applicants
ANN ARBOR, Mich.
Seven months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the University of Michigan’s undergraduate affirmative action policy, the number of applications from Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians is down 23 percent from the same time last year.
And the number of those admitted is down 30 percent.
Officials said the figures are only preliminary and thousands more applications will continue to be reviewed in a process the school hopes to finish by the first week of April. The application deadline was Feb. 1.
“We’ve only accepted a fraction of the class we’ll ultimately admit,” associate director of admissions Chris Lucier said recently.
Overall, applications for this fall’s incoming freshman class are down 18 percent, according to the preliminary data compiled Feb. 5 and released to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Despite the decrease in applications, the total number of students admitted so far — nearly 8,600 — is down only 1 percent from the same time last year. The university plans to admit 12,000 to 13,000 students and hopes that will yield an enrollment of 5,545 for this fall.
Last June, the high court upheld an affirmative action policy at the University of Michigan law school but struck down the university’s undergraduate formula as too rigid. The formula awarded admissions points based on race (see Black Issues, July 17, 2003).
The University of Michigan adopted a new application that still considers race, but does not award points, and includes new short-answer questions and an optional essay — changes that meant applications were made available to students about a month later than usual, stalling the start of the admissions process.
Lucier said essay answers are “providing the breadth and the richness of information that we really were hoping to get from students.” But the questions also mean additional work for high school seniors, which officials say likely contributes to the lower number of applications.
— Associated Press
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