Applications to the University from underrepresented minorities are up nearly 20 percent from the same time a year ago.

Because Proposal 2 takes effect in the middle of the admissions cycle, the precise date an application is reviewed is more significant this year. Unless a court delays the implementation of the amendment, the University will be forced to change its admissions policy and stop considering an applicant’s race on Dec. 23. Minority students whose applications are reviewed after that date will no longer be given race-based preferences.

Despite the looming changes, Chris Lucier, associate director of admissions, said applications are reviewed strictly based on when the application is completed. He said the office hasn’t rushed to consider applications from underrepresented minorities before the December deadline.

There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of minority students who have completed their applications. Nearly two-thirds of minority applications are complete, compared to just over 50 percent at this time last year. An application is started when a student submits any part of the application to the University. But the admissions office does not review an application until it has received all of its components.

As of Dec. 4, applications from underrepresented minorities were up substantially – 1,218 had started applications, a 19-percent spike from last year, when 1,022 had, according to from the office of undergraduate admissions.

The University considers black, Latino and Native American students underrepresented minorities.

The increase goes against what many were bracing for: a drop in minority applications due to worry that the ban could paint the University as an unwelcoming place for minority students.

After California voters passed a similar measure in 1996, minority applications to the UC system’s flagship campuses dropped substantially.

As of Dec. 4, 3,133 students had been admitted to the University for next fall, including 256 underrepresented minorities. About 73 percent of the underrepresented minority applicants considered so far this year have been admitted, while 59 percent of white and Asian applicants have been accepted.

Lucier said the University has been trying to encourage students to apply earlier in the cycle. Typically, underrepresented minority students tend to apply later in the application cycle than white and Asian students.

“We are pleased that our overall message has gotten out to all students,” Lucier said.

In late November, University Provost Teresa Sullivan said she is assuming the amendment will go into effect as scheduled. She said an enrollment advisory group is trying to work out the intricacies of how the amendment will affect this year’s admissions cycle.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the University makes a special effort to encourage minority students to apply to the University and has focused on getting all applicants to apply earlier this year.

Administrators have been aggressively recruiting minority students in recent years. University President Mary Sue Coleman regularly speaks at black churches to encourage potential students to apply. In April 2005, the University opened a facility in Detroit to house outreach programs both in the city and around the nation.

So far this fall, the University has received 3.5 percent more applications than it had at the same time last year.

-Number of applications the University had received from underrepresented minorities as of Dec. 4 last year.

-Number the University has received as of Dec. 4 this year.

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