‘Pleased’ to admit fewer needy students

On John Leo’s new Minding the Campus blog, Anthony Paletta notices that UCLA is celebrating results of its “holistic” admissions process, “which was promoted as a means to improve the relative chances of disadvantaged students who lacked AP courses and other academic opportunities that wealthier peers enjoy.” That didn’t happen: UCLA will have fewer low-income students in the fall and fewer who’ll be the first in their family to go to college. But it will have more blacks.

The number of students from families with incomes under $30,000 declined from 955 in 2006 to an estimated 689 for 2007. The number of first-generation students fell by about 400.

What do University administrators have to say about the results? Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Janina Montero declared to the UCLA Daily Bruin “We are certainly out of crisis mode.” Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams was “very pleased” with the result.

How is this? Well, black enrollment increased from 96 in 2006 to 203 for the present year.

These figures indicated admitted students who say they intend to enroll. By wooing blacks, UCLA boosted the percentage of black admits who say they’ll be there in the fall. The pressure to get more low-income and first-generation students to choose UCLA is . . . nonexistent.

Also on Minding the Campus is an essay by Heather MacDonald on the mendacity of college affirmative action officers. The job requires the promotion of false propositions. First and foremost:

The fact that your college still has not achieved proportional representation of blacks, Hispanics, and women in certain fields, such as the sciences, is because it hasn’t put enough effort into finding them. The problem is not that there is an insufficient number of qualified minorities and women to go around. (It is acceptable here to imply that your college may even be discriminating against “diverse” candidates.)

She includes an e-mail exchange with Jorge Huerta, chief diversity officer at UC-San Diego. Since the University of California is banned by law from considering race and gender in hiring and admissions, Huerta’s job requires “a shameless display of diversity doublespeak.”

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  1. Cardinal Fang says:

    Here’s a link to a December 2006 report by the Education Trust about “How funding choices at the school district level provide enhanced funding to schools serving higher concentrations of affluent students and white students at the expense of schools that serve low-income students and students of color.”

    So the issue of economic class in recruiting and scholarship granting is beginning to get the attention it deserves. The pressure at UCLA may be small, but it is not non-existent. I found an article from the Daily Bruin dealing with the issue (from Google’s cache, so it might not last long.)

  2. That report from the Education Trust would be a bit more compelling if they identified the source of the funding differences. As it is, the obvious implication is that any difference is, in itself, unacceptable. I’d rather have the information so I can draw conclusion myself.

    Having conclusions drawn for me is presumptuous and suspicious, especially when they aren’t made explicit.

  3. Cardinal Fang says:

    I linked the wrong report. Sorry.

    Here is the press release for the article about funding in public colleges: Engines of Inequality: Diminishing Equity in the Nation’s Premier Public Universities, and here is the report itself.

    The report explains that flagship colleges are increasingly playing the ratings game. In order to bump up their ratings in the college guides, they want to increase average SAT scores. To do that, they offer generous financial aid packages to students with high SATs, even when those students come from well-off families and could easily pay their own way. Meanwhile, qualified low-income students, who didn’t attend super suburban schools and didn’t have SAT tutors, don’t get the aid they need to attend the schools. So Worthington W. Worthington III, who had a personal fulltime college counselor as well as an SAT tutor and who took the SATs four times before he got his 750/750/700, gets a merit scholarship, while Anita Gonzales, who took the SATs once with no tutor and got 700/650/700, doesn’t get enough aid and can’t afford to go to college.