News of the WeekScience Education

Graduate Admissions Down for Minorities

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1778
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1778

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A report released last week by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, publisher of Science) shows that minority enrollments in graduate science and engineering programs dropped precipitously in 1997; the authors attribute this drop to the uncertainty that new laws and legal challenges to affirmative action programs have bred nationwide about what forms of affirmative action are legally allowable. Coincidentally, that gloomy news came out within a day of the publication of the book, The Shape of the River, which documents the achievements of past affirmative action programs. It concludes that such policies at top undergraduate colleges and universities have largely been successful in giving black undergraduates a boost toward financial success, professional and graduate study, and leadership positions.