Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a law passed by voters in Michigan that banned consideration of race in the public college admissions process.
Eight states have passed laws restricting affirmative action since 1996, despite the racial makeup of college students and graduates evolving.
The biggest story is among Hispanics, who have made big gains in college enrollment, a measure that includes both two- and four-year schools. From 1996 to 2012, college enrollment among Hispanics ages 18 to 24 more than tripled (240% increase), outpacing increases among blacks (72%) and whites (12%). (The Census Bureau did not publish Asian college enrollment figures before 1999.) In fact, for the first time in 2012, Hispanics’college enrollment rate among 18- to 24 year-old high school graduates surpassed that of whites, by 49% to 47%.
College enrollment grew among all race and ethnic groups during this 16-year period. Among Hispanics, college enrollment growth exceeded the growth in public high school graduates (141%) over roughly the same time period. The number of public high school graduates increased 63% among blacks and 8% among whites.
The gap can be seen when reviewing data on bachelor’s degrees. In 2012, Hispanics accounted for just 9 percent of young adults with bachelor’s degrees.
In 2012, blacks made up 14% of college-aged students, yet 9% earned bachelor’s degrees. Blacks and Hispanics overwhelmingly support affirmative action and a majority of whites do, too.
Thoughts on the findings of the report?
Do you think officials are missing the mark when it comes to the importance of affirmative action?
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