Abandonment or Inclusion of Race in Higher Education Admissions: A Case Study of Consequences

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Abandonment or Inclusion of Race in Higher Education Admissions: A Case Study of Consequences


Campus--Community, Education--Higher--University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Research and Data, Racism


A case study was conducted of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC),
to explore the consequences of its historical inclusion and exclusion of race as a factor in the
college admissions process. During the 1960's, the UIUC subscribed to a numbers only
admissions policy and revisited its mission and made a commitment to enhance diversity on
campus. To this end, the UIUC juxtaposed the concepts of merit and diversity and sought to
infuse this belief with campus mores and practices. The focus of this research was directed at determining the UIUC impact of returning to a potential numbers only admissions policy on
African American enrollment. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to inform the
discourse about race conscious admissions. A chronology was compiled detailing the steps
involved in the UIUC decision to consider race as a factor in admissions and the decisions and
policy which followed in the interest of maintaining diversity on the campus. Eleven interviews
were conducted.
Admissions practices and academic records were examined for African American
students admitted to the University in 1968, 1978, 1985 and 1995. Independent t-tests were
conducted on the means for both African Americans and majority students (all freshmen
excluding African Americans) across Campus Selection Index, ACT-C and High School
Percentile Rank (HSPR) for the 1978, 1985 and 1995 cohorts. A difference in each of the means
was found to be significant at the .05 level Examination of the data revealed that the mean
Campus Selection Index for African Americans for the years 1978, ' 85 and '95 was 3.5.
Graduation rates for African Americans during 1978, 1985 and 1995 equaled or exceeded
national norms, despite the fact that over 75% of these Campus Selection Index scores fell in the
bottom quartile range for the entire freshmen cohort during each respective year. These findings support the argument that a numbers only admissions policy would force the University to reject a large cadre of otherwise qualified students, restrict the opportunity for African American
students to enroll in a highly selective four year institution, and limit the level of student
diversity at the University.


Sandra Joy Kato


Unpublished dissertation





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Sandra Joy Kato, "Abandonment or Inclusion of Race in Higher Education Admissions: A Case Study of Consequences," in eBlack Champaign-Urbana, Item #404, http://eblackcu.net/portal/items/show/404 (accessed December 1, 2021).

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File: Kato_Dissertation.pdf