NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Affirmative Action Could Return to College Campuses

July 15, 2003

Four states where affirmative action was banned on college campuses might revive those programs now that the Supreme Court has validated the use of race-conscious admissions programs to achieve a diverse student body.

They are: Texas, Georgia, California and Washington.

  • Prominent universities in Texas, where a court decision banned affirmative action in 1996, promise to return to those programs.
  • Officials at the University of Georgia, whose admissions program was struck down in 2001, have said they want to again use race to help screen applicants.
  • In California, where voters chose in 1996 to ban racial preferences in school admissions, a powerful state lawmaker is exploring options for reviving such policies.
  • Deans at the University of Washington plan to pressure lawmakers to overturn a 1998 ballot initiative that banned affirmative action in admissions.

Florida, which also had banned affirmative action before the landmark ruling, did not join Texas, Georgia, California and Washington in expressing interest in returning to race-conscious admissions. State and university officials in Florida say they will continue using race-neutral alternatives.

Affirmative action, which sometimes bumps minorities ahead of white students with higher test scores and grades, matters most for the country's 30 to 40 most selective public four-year universities. It offers those schools a way to sort quickly through the large volume of applications.

Source: Katherine Hutt Scott (Gannett News Service), "4 states weigh return to affirmative action," USA TODAY, July 15, 2003.


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