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Court Backs Michigan on Affirmative Action
4/23/14 | New York Times
Behind the Headline
The Texas Ten Percent Plan’s Impact on College Enrollment
Summer 2014 | Education Next
The Supreme Court Tuesday upheld a Michigan measure that banned the use of affirmative action in admission to the state’s public universities. As Adam Liptak notes in the New York Times, the ruling may encourage more states to consider race-neutral alternatives to ensure diversity at state universities.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in a case involving the admissions policies at the University of Texas that states are allowed to use race as a factor in admissions if they choose to. However, a lower court was asked to consider whether using racial preferences was the only way for the school to admit a diverse student body or whether any race-neutral methods could achieve the same goal.
A study released yesterday by Education Next looks at the impact of one state’s attempt to use a race-neutral method to generate a diverse student body. In 1997, Texas created the Texas Ten Percent Plan, by which students in the top 10 percent of their high-school class are granted automatic admission to any public university in the state.
The study found that the Texas Ten Percent Plan does increase the likelihood that students in the top 10 percent of their class, including underrepresented minority students, enroll at a Texas flagship university. However, the main impact of the plan is to shift the enrollment of eligible students from selective private colleges to Texas’s flagship universities.