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 application became significantly harder,” said Jason S. Mironov, president of Michigan’s 39,000-student body. “Unless you were absolutely sure you wanted to go to Michigan, many students were reluctant to spend a great deal of time with the application.”