The Corner


Study: Admissions Discrimination at Virginia Public Universities

The Center for Equal Opportunity today is releasing a study, authored by our research fellow Althea Nagai, of the use of racial and ethnic admissions preferences at five Virginia public universities: the University of Virginia, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and George Mason University. We uncovered a significant amount of discrimination, especially at the first two schools.

Over the years, CEO has obtained data, as we did here, from public colleges and universities through state freedom of information laws, analyzed what we found, and released dozens of studies of schools all over the country. Today’s study is being released at a National Press Club event in conjunction with the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project. Virginia’s public universities are perhaps the country’s most selective among those still allowed to use racial and ethnic preferences (California, for example, and a number of other states have banned such discrimination as a matter of state law).

Among the Virginia study’s findings are that the two most selective schools, UVa and William & Mary, give the heaviest admission preferences and they are to African Americans. Thus, the probabilities of admission and odds-ratios showed significant racial preference; there was a black-white SAT gap at the two schools of 180 and 190 points, respectively; and there were 1675 white applicants to UVa and 943 white applicants to William & Mary, who were rejected despite having higher standardized test scores and high-school grades than the black admittee medians.     

But perhaps the most salient finding is that all five schools discriminated to one degree or another against Asian Americans in their respective admissions. I highlight this in light of the ongoing and high-profile litigation against Harvard for its discrimination against Asian American applicants.

You can read CEO’s study here.


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