Final count suggests impact of Prop 2

Daily News Editors
Published June 3, 2007

The University has closed shop on admissions for next year, and the final numbers provide insight into the impact on minority enrollment of the affirmative action ban enacted by the passage of Proposal 2.

The numbers show that the January enactment of the legislation drastically affected the acceptance rate of under-represented minorities.

Although there were 175 more minority applicants this year than in 2006, the University admitted 111 less than it did last year.

While the changes in both the total number of applications, and the applications from under-represented minorities increased by about 6.5 percent, the total number of admitted applicants increased 15 percent while the number of admitted minorities dropped by 7.4 percent.

This year the University accepted 502 minority applicants in the months before Proposal 2 passed, an increase of about 85 percent from the 270 it accepted at the same time last year.

Chris Lucier, the University's director of recruitment and operations, said that this figure could likely be attributed to a more aggressive recruiting approach rather than priority given to applications from minority students in anticipation of the passage of Proposal 2.

"We did have a number of recruitment events this year where we encouraged minority applicants to apply and apply early," Lucier said.

The numbers indicate that the loss of the advantage granted by affirmative action brought the ratio of minority applicants accepted to a level almost on par with non-minority applicants.

Twelve percent more minority applicants were accepted than non-minority applicants in 2006, while in the final 2007 admissions numbers the gap closed to put minority acceptance at about 1 percentage point less than non-minority acceptance.

Lucier said this year's data do not entirely reveal the impact of the affirmative action ban on admissions because two processes were used during the cycle.

"I believe that there was an impact," he said. "But I can't assess the magnitude of the impact. Part of the decrease of 7.4 (percent) was attributed to Prop 2."

But although the University was forced to reject some minority applicants who may have been admitted with affirmative action, more of those admitted accepted admission offers from the University.

Four percent more admitted minority applicants put down a deposit this year to confirm plans to attend than did last year. Accepted minority applicants paid deposits two percent more often than accepted applicants as a whole.

The numbers ease administrators' concern that minority students would be deterred from attending the University because of the perception that its campus was unwelcoming to minorities after the passage of Proposal 2.

Lucier said he thought the higher numbers can be attributed to the University's outreach programs as well as the overall increased interest in the University from students applying to college.

"It shows the efforts made in the aftermath of Prop 2 to talk to students about the opportunities the University of Michigan provides were successful," he said.