Whites Surpassed in UC Admissions

By Alyson Klein — May 09, 2006 1 min read

For the first time, more Asian-American than white students have been admitted to the University of California system.

About 36 percent of the 55,000 students accepted for fall 2006 in the UC system were Asian-American, while 35.6 percent were white, according to statistics released last month.

Ricardo Vazquez, a spokesman for the 10-campus system, said Asian-Americans have long outpaced whites in the percentage of students who meet the university system’s requirements for admission, which include earning a certain grade point average relative to their ACT or SAT scores.

California Diversity

For the first time, more Asian-American than white freshmen have been admitted to the University of California system.

1997 2006
Asian-American 33% 36%
White 40.8 35.6
Chicano/Latino 14.1 17.6
African-American 3.8 3.4
American Indian 0.8 0.6
Other/Decline to state 7.6 5.8

SOURCE: University of California System

Applicants who meet the requirements are guaranteed a slot at one of the UC campuses, although they might not get into their first choice.

“Asian-Americans achieve eligibility at the highest rate of any group,” Mr. Vazquez said, noting that 31.4 percent of Asian-American high school graduates in California meet the UC system’s admissions criteria, compared with about 16 percent of whites. About 14 percent of this year’s high school graduates in the state are Asian-American, while about 38 percent are white.

Mr. Vazquez said the numbers could also be explained by the fact that Asian-Americans constitute an increasingly higher proportion of the applicant pool. Their applications were up about 11 percent this year over 2005.

Racial- and ethnic-minority groups, particularly Asian-Americans and Latinos, have been steadily gaining a larger share of the system’s slots over the past decade, Mr. Vazquez said.

He said that while those numbers are encouraging, the state “still has a lot work” to do to increase the number of students admitted from underrepresented groups. Californians passed a ballot initiative in 1996 that prohibited the use of race-based affirmative action in admissions.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 2006 edition of Education Week