Despite Record Number of Applications, Minority Applicants Down at the University of Michigan - Higher Education
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Despite Record Number of Applications, Minority Applicants Down at the University of Michigan

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by Associated Press


LANSING, Mich.

The University of Michigan last week announced it has received a record number of applications for the incoming freshmen class, but slightly fewer of what the school calls underrepresented minorities sought to attend compared to last year.

The 2 percent falloff in applications from Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians likely is in part due to policies and publicity stemming from a voter-approved ban on the use of race and gender preferences in university admissions.

Voters approved Proposal 2 in late 2006. The fall 2008 entering class at the University of Michigan is the first recruited entirely under its rules, which likely will have greater impact at the Ann Arbor campus than anywhere else in the state.

The university said that it received 2,771 applications from Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans — down 2 percent from last year. Of those who applied, 1,310 were offered admission. That’s a rate about 2.3 percentage points lower than last year.

University officials predicted it’s a temporary decline and said it isn’t as steep as the falloff that occurred at flagship universities in some other states. California and Washington, for example, have similar laws.

U-M says it has stepped up its recruitment of minority students while staying within the boundaries set by the new law, which bans some affirmative action programs. For example, the university announced last month it will open an educational outreach and academic success center. Part of its role will be to help expand diversity on campus.

“We’re still committed to diversity,” said Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of the university’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “We still feel as though we want to do better. We feel we will.”

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The admission of women does not appear to be affected as much by Proposal 2. The university received 14,551 applications from women, up 7.8 percent from last year.

Overall, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor received a record 29,794 applications from prospective freshmen for 2008. That’s up 8.5 percent from last year.

But the university won’t admit as many students as last year in an intentional effort to hold down the size of the 2008 class.

As of June 5, 12,533 students were offered admission to the Ann Arbor campus and less than half of them had paid enrollment deposits. The preliminary admission number is down about 9 percent overall from the same time last year.

The number of men, women and minorities admitted all will be lower than last year.

U-M officials said entering classes in recent years have exceeded the ideal size. University officials expect the incoming class will end up at or near 5,710 students.

The overall composition of the 2008 entering class could be very similar to last year’s, including nearly 51 percent women and a little more than 10 percent of what the university calls underrepresented minorities.

Final enrollment numbers won’t be available until the fall.

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