The University of California Berkeley's population of black freshman dropped by 30 percent this year, much to the bewilderment of campus officials. Some attribute the drop in admissions to increased tuition costs or the elimination of affirmative action. Or it could be that recruitment efforts to attract low-income students have been restricted. Berkeley is no longer able to fly students from minority schools to campus for pre-application visits.
Berkeley admitted 562 black students in 1997, the last year that affirmative action was allowed. Once new race-blind policies came into effect, the number fell to 191. This fall, only 98 black students were admitted out of a freshman class of 3,821. Decreases in minority applications were also seen at University of Michigan and Ohio State University.
Texas A & M University, conversely, has seen a big surge of black applicants. Black enrollment is up 24 percent from last spring, campus officials say. While Texas A & M does not consider applicants' race in the admissions process, it does try to entice students by visiting more predominantly black high schools and providing more scholarships for students of low-income families.