What would the end of race-conscious admissions mean for minority enrollment?

Ten states have banned the use of race-conscious admissions and related affirmative action since the 1990s. Hover over each of these states to see key population and enrollment statistics.

This fall, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases challenging the race-conscious confession. A court ruling, not expected until 2023, could lead to a national ban on the practice.

To see the potential impact of such a decision, Chronicle examined how enrollment of underrepresented minorities has shifted in the 10 states that have banned affirmative action. chronicle’The analysis looks at enrollment at 30 selective public institutions in states that prohibit race-conscious admissions.

These prohibitions apply only to public bodies. Two cases that went to court this fall could lead to bans at private colleges as well.

In three states, the gap between their underrepresented minority population and the state’s number of underrepresented minorities in selective institutions widened.

The state’s college-aged population

Enrollment in selective four-year institutions in each state

See all

Note. “Banning Started” labels indicate the years the policy was enacted, but may not affect that year’s enrollment cycle.

Most of the flagship campuses with state-prohibited race-conscious admissions did not increase their underrepresented minority populations at the same rate as their state’s underrepresented minority college-age population.

Flagship university The year of state prohibition Registration of underrepresented minorities changed from prohibited to 2020 Underrepresented minority populations changed from the ban to 2020
University of Arizona 2010 year 4.1% 5.0%
University of California at Berkeley 1996 year 6.2% 7.9%
University of Florida 1999 year 7.2% 9.6%
University of Idaho 2020
Does not apply

Does not apply
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor 2006 -2.2% 3.1%
University of Nebraska at Lincoln 2008 6.3% 5.6%
University of New Hampshire 2012 year 0.1% 1.7%
University of Oklahoma in Norman 2012 year 0.3% 3.9%
University of Texas at Austin 1996-2003 1.7% 2.8%
University of Washington 1998 6.3% 10.3%

Note. Enrollment represents freshmen seeking a degree. Idaho data is omitted because the ban was too recently enacted to record statistical changes.


State estimates of people ages 18 to 24 by race come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bridged Race Population Estimates.

Illustration of a series of closing doors

Special report on the threatened future of race-conscious admissions.

Enrollment numbers are from the US Department of Education’s Integrated Secondary Education Data System. These represent the fall enrollment numbers. From 1994 to 2007, enrollment numbers for “Asian or Pacific Islanders” do not include Native Hawaiians. After 2007, this group is represented in this category. Underrepresented minorities are defined as American Indian and Alaska Native, black, and Hispanic students.

The percentage of underrepresented minorities in each year was calculated by dividing the total number of students in these three groups by the total number of students minus those whose race or ethnicity was unknown, who were nonresident aliens, or who were of two or more races. .

Institutions were identified as selective based on the 2018 Carnegie Undergraduate Profile classifications. Institutions classified as “more selective” as well as the flagships of each country were included in this analysis.

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