Long-Run Changes in Underrepresentation After Affirmative Action Bans in Public Universities
Long-Run Changes in Underrepresentation After Affirmative Action Bans in Public Universities

Published Online in:
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
April 7, 2020

Mark C. LongUniversity of Washington
Nicole A. BatemanBrookings Institution

Affirmative action was banned in California, Texas, Washington, and Florida in the 1990s. Following this early wave, additional states banned the practice, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma. In response to concerns about underrepresented minorities’ falling college enrollment in flagship public universities, administrators and policymakers took a variety of steps to mitigate these declines. This article assesses the long-run changes in the racial and ethnic composition of selected universities after these bans. We find that the elimination of affirmative action has led to persistent declines in the share of underrepresented minorities among students admitted to and enrolling in public flagship universities in these states. These results imply that alternative policies and administrative decisions were unable to fully replace race-based affirmative action. Furthermore, we show that the antecedent conditions have only modestly improved in recent decades, suggesting that policymakers and administrators need to focus on improving these conditions.

Read the full open-access article online here

Read the press release: "Study: After Affirmative Action Bans, Enrollment of Underrepresented Minority Students at Public Universities Has Not Kept Pace with Demographic Trends.

News Coverage

Confronting Racism in Admissions
Inside Higher Ed, October 26, 2020

The Long-Term Impact of State Affirmative Action Bans on Black Enrollments in Higher Education
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, April 13, 2020

Study: Minority Student Enrollment Hasn’t Kept Pace With Demographic Trends in States That Have Affirmative Action Bans
Diverse Issues in Higher Education, April 8, 2020 

Losing Minority Students
Inside Higher Ed, April 8, 2020

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