NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Without Preferences, Asian-Americans Gain Admission

November 17, 1997

One result of California's Proposition 209, which outlawed racial preferences in admissions to state colleges, is that many more Asian-Americans will be admitted, say observers.

  • Asians are already a majority on the Irvine campus of the 127,000-student University of California system.
  • Even though they make up only about 15 percent of all California high school students, Asians make up about 50 percent of the pool of eligible students.
  • The system is required to admit the top 12.5 percent of California high school graduates, and fully 32 percent of all Asian-Americans graduating from the state's high schools fit into that category in 1990 -- the latest year for which figures were available.

This fall was the last class admitted before Prop 209 took effect, and at UC at Berkeley, the most selective campus, 41 percent of the freshmen admitted were Asian-American.

Although the UC system is using socioeconomic status to help diversify the student body, it is expected to help some Asians as well, since many thousands of recent immigrants live well below the poverty level.

Source: Thomas D. Elias, "California's Asian Students Get Boost from Prop. 209," Washington Times, November 17, 1997.


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