Does the nation still need affirmative action?

By | August 7, 2017

Does the nation still need affirmative action? Here is the big picture.

According to Education Department statistics, there has been no dramatic change since the Supreme Court found in 2003 that promoting diversity on college campuses is a compelling national interest. The share of 18- to 24-year-old whites who are enrolled in college stayed about flat between 2003 and 2015, at 42 percent. African American enrollment in that age group changed only a bit, from 32 percent to 35 percent, continuing to lag whites. Though Latinos gained, from 24 percent to 37?percent, they, too, continue to trail whites in the percentage of college-age people enrolled. Over a longer horizon, African Americans’ progress looks more substantial: College enrollment among black 18- to 24-year-olds in 2015 was up 19 percentage points from 1970. But white enrollment surged a comparable amount over that period, by 15 percentage points.

The typical college campus in the United States is still very white — and the typical university of higher quality, even whiter. In 2014, whites made up the bulk of students in four-year colleges — 58 percent. Meanwhile, the four-year college population was 13 percent African American, up only a point from a decade before, and 12 percent Latino, up a few points over a decade. Whites are somewhat less dominant at two-year colleges, making up 51 percent of the population attending those schools. African Americans account for 15 percent and Latinos 23 percent, higher than their four-year figures. (Washington Post)

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