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Back You are here: Home Affirmative Action Affirmative Action News Education Preferences in Maryland Higher Education: Racial and Ethnic Preferences in Undergraduate Admissions at Maryland Four-Year Public Colleges and Universities

Preferences in Maryland Higher Education: Racial and Ethnic Preferences in Undergraduate Admissions at Maryland Four-Year Public Colleges and Universities

Preferences in Maryland Higher Education: Racial and Ethnic Preferences in Undergraduate Admissions at Maryland Four-Year Public Colleges and Universities

By Robert Lerner, Ph.D. and 
Althea K. Nagai, Ph.D.

Executive Summary

 

  • At Maryland four-year public colleges and universities, white in-state enrollees on average have substantially higher SAT scores compared to black in-state enrollees. There are large gaps in median verbal SAT scores at St. Mary’s College, Salisbury, Bowie, Frostburg, and College Park, moderate gaps at Towson and Eastern Shore, and basically no gap at Baltimore County. At most schools (St. Mary’s, College Park, Bowie, Salisbury, Frostburg, and Eastern Shore), the math SAT gap between whites and blacks is large. There is a moderate gap at Towson and Baltimore County.

     

  • There is less of a systematic pattern regarding white-Hispanic and white-Asian test score differences, although the former gaps are greater and more common than the latter. At College Park and Bowie, for example, white scores on verbal and math SATs are much higher than Hispanic scores. (At Towson, on the other hand, Hispanic scores are slightly higher on both tests.) White scores on verbal SATs are generally higher than Asian scores, while white-Asian math score gaps show no pattern. (At Salisbury, Asians score higher on both SATs.)

     

  • Especially at the large institutions, the greater gaps between groups are mirrored in lower graduation rates for minorities. This is especially the case for College Park. In contrast, where gaps in test scores are smaller (e.g., Baltimore County and Towson), proportionately more blacks graduate.

     

  • Without racial preferences, all Maryland schools would still have many minority enrollees. Minorities, particularly blacks, would not be locked out of admission to the four-year institutions. This is particularly the case for the top quartile black enrollees at most schools.

     

  • Blacks are subject to remediation at a greater rate than members of other racial and ethnic groups, and the disparities in remediation rates are generally related to gaps in enrollee test scores. Remediation does not, however, close the gap with respect to the rate of retention. In general, those with more remedial courses also are proportionately less likely to be at that institution in subsequent years, and have lower rates of graduation in four years. Institutions admitting minorities with substantially lower test scores increase the probability of minority enrollment in remedial courses and lessen the chances the students at the school will graduate in four years. Racial preferences create permanent differences in the relative qualifications of different enrollee racial groups, and those preferences cannot be justified by arguing that gaps in academic performance can be overcome after the students are admitted.