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January 11, 2010 8:00 PM Universities, After Affirmative Action

By Daniel Luzer

A study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Labor Economics predicts that a ban on affirmative action would decrease minority representation at American colleges very moderately. According to the study:

Black and Hispanic representation at all four-year colleges is predicted to decline modestly—by two percent—if race-neutral college admissions policies are mandated nationwide. However, race-neutral admissions are predicted to decrease minority representation at the most selective four-year institutions by ten percent.

According to the author, Jessica Howell of California State University, Sacramento, the enrollment declines would be almost entirely explained by college admissions decisions; minority students would continue to apply to the same number and type of schools.

America’s two largest states, Texas and California, already have affirmative action bans in their state university systems. The California system saw a 1 percent overall decline in minority enrollment. Texas also did not see a significant decline in minority enrollment. Both states saw a considerable decline in minority students admitted to their most selective institutions, however.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer