What Happens When There's No Affirmative Action

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Public support for affirmative action has been on a serious decline in recent years, with a Gallup poll from this past July finding that 67% of those surveyed oppose its use in college admissions.

Many opponents of affirmative action argue it is no longer needed to ensure racial diversity in universities, but statistics seem to suggest otherwise.

A report published last month in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis -- a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educations Research Association, the largest U.S. organization devoted to the scientific study of education -- found a substantial decline in affirmative action used by selective colleges between 1992 and 2004.

The study focused on public college selection statistics in eight states  Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Washington  where affirmative action was repealed or banned either by public ballot or Circuit Court rulings over the 12-year period. The research showed that in those states, a minority applicant (defined as being African-American, Hispanic or Native American) was 19% more likely to be admitted to the college than a non-minority (white or Asian) applicant in 1992. But there were dramatic declines in admission of minority applicants by 2004, after the affirmative action bans went into effect.

Public colleges in the eight "post-affirmative action" states that required a median SAT score 1100 or above for acceptance experienced a 23.3% decline in the number of minority applicants admitted. This figure, when averaged with all 50 states, skewed the national data so it showed a 5.1% decline in minority applicants admitted to selective public colleges overall; but the remaining 40 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, analyzed separately, experienced less than a 1% decline in admission rates for minorities.

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