Walter Nowinski, Michigan Daily, Feb.19 2007
The acceptance rate of underrepresented minorities has plunged since the University was forced to stop using affirmative action in January, according to data provided by the University.
The numbers suggest that the affirmative action ban passed by state voters in November has had a dramatic effect on admissions decisions.
University officials, though, are cautioning against reading too much into the preliminary numbers.
Before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction delaying the implementation of the affirmative action ban on Dec. 27 of last year, the University had admitted 76 percent of the underrepresented minority applicants it considered.
It only admitted 33 percent of underrepresented minority applicants considered after the University stopped taking an applicant’s race into account—a decline of 43 percent.
The acceptance rate of non-underrepresented minority applicants to the University also fell over the same period, but by a less dramatic amount. Sixty-four percent of non-underrepresented minority applicants considered before the ban took effect were admitted compared with about 40 percent afterwards—a decline of 24 percent.
Typically, the admissions rate declines for all applicants as the cycle progresses as the University tries to admit the right number of students to fill the freshman class.
During the 2005-2006 admissions cycle, the acceptance rate for non-minority students declined by 12 percent from the end of December through early February.
In the same year, the underrepresented minority acceptance rate skyrocketed from 65 percent for applicants considered before the end of December to 84 percent for applicants reviewed between Jan. 7 and Feb. 11.
This year, the picture was quite different.
The acceptance rate among underrepresented minorities declined at a much more dramatic rate than the rate of the applicant pool as a whole.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson cautioned against attributing too much of the drop in underrepresented minority acceptance rate to the affirmative action ban and said it is too early to understand its effects.
Peterson said the affirmative action ban is likely having some effect on admissions, but that the University won’t be able to get the full picture until early next fall.
Still, underrepresented minority applicants went from being admitted at a rate 12 percent above the overall average before the ban took effect to 6 percent below the average afterward.
Before and after prop 2
76 Percent of underrepresented minority applicants accepted before the University stopped using affirmative action in early January
33Percent of underrepresented minority applicants accepted after the University stopped using affirmative action in early January
64Percent of underrepresented minority applicants accepted by Dec. 31 during the 05-06 cycle
84Percent of underrepresented minority applicants accepted after Dec. 31 during the 05-06 cycle