The Washington Post

Bonus Admissions 101: Is it time to end racial preferences in college admissions?

I usually do only one Admissons 101 topic a week, but Tuesday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an important college admissions case out of Texas demands examination by this blog.

A white student in Texas argues that she was denied admission to the University of Texas while minorities with similar qualifications were accepted. The state’s university policy is to admit most students based on their high school class rank — the top 10 percent get in — but to then also choose some students who had lower rankings and who are underrepresented minorities.

The student who filed the suit says this is unconstitutional. If she wins, will that hurt our universities? I don’t think so. California is doing fine with a state admissions system that relies on class rank and non-racial factors such as poverty. As President Obama has said, his daughters don’t need an extra boost when applying to colleges because they’re black, whereas poor kids could use some help.

Texas was doing well in getting minorities in by class rank before it added the minority provision. It should go back to that system. Am I right? Or am I missing something?

Jay Mathews is an education columnist and blogger for the Washington Post, his employer for 40 years.

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