So, Donald Trump wants the Justice Department’s civil rights division to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.
There are about a hundred ways to take apart Trump’s assumptions about college admission practices. I have exactly twenty minutes before Ian gets home, needs lunch, and then a drive to the community college for computer class. Let’s see how far I can get…
If you want to talk about one group pushing out another group from one of the finite positions in higher education, then the group to attack isn’t African-Americans. They make up a very small faction of all students at elite colleges in this country. A 2015 article at the Atlantic points out that at ” all top-tier universities, black undergraduate populations average 6 percent, a statistic that has remained largely flat for 20 years.” Not a big number.
So, if you want to target one group that is taking an increasing number of spots at elite institutions, you really want to look at international students. There are way more of them than there are African American students. Colleges are increasingly seeking them out, because they can pay full freight of tuition. Some rushed numbers that I pulled up from collegedata.com:
|Univ. of IL||6.4||15.4|
Secondly, all the research shows that the biggest problem is that excellent poor/minority students do not apply to elite schools when they have great GPAs/SATS and would be admitted. They are intimidated by the whole process and are fearful of leaving their communities. So, they end up at less selective local schools, where they sometimes end up paying more — a phenomenon known as “under-matching.” And elite colleges want to make it even more difficult for those kids by creating a new application process.
Thirdly, admissions offices have quotas for all groups. It’s way easier to get into college if you’re a dude. It’s easier to get into college if you aren’t from the Northeast. Asian girls from New Jersey have a much tougher time getting into elite schools than white dudes from North Dakota.
So, if Donald Trump really wants a completely unbiased system, then schools wouldn’t take into account gender, state, race/ethnicity, legacy, athletic prowess, and ability to pay full ticket cost for the school. Good luck with that.