New policy considers high school
grades and standardized test scores
ATHENS, Ga. — In response to a federal appeals court ruling, the University of Georgia announced a new admissions policy Wednesday that doesn’t consider race.
The admissions overhaul comes after years of lawsuits by white women who argued they would have been admitted if they were black or men. The school is predominantly female and favored male applicants for several years.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta threw out UGA’s policy last year. The school has now eliminated any consideration of race, gender or country of origin, as well as a tradition of favoring applicants related to Georgia alumni.
This fall’s freshman class of about 4,300 was admitted on the basis of an interim formula combining high school grades with standardized test scores.
Applicants for the 2003 freshman class will be placed into three groups: academically superior, academically competitive and not competitive. There will be no accounting for race. The former admissions plan gave some borderline students a slight boost if they weren’t white.
Students placed in the not competitive group will get a second reading by faculty reviewers to see whether an “exceptional circumstance” should let the student in, based on essays, community service and recommendations.
A longer application form is planned, giving students more room for essays and for a new requirement, a teacher recommendation.
Most freshmen, about 75 percent to 80 percent of the class, will be admitted based on test scores and high school grades alone, school spokesman Tom Jackson said in a statement.
Around the country, federal appeals courts have reached conflicting decisions in recent years on affirmative action in admissions.
In a closely watched case that could ultimately go to the U.S. Supreme Court, a sharply divided federal appeals court in May upheld the use of race in admissions at the University of Michigan law school.
In 1996, a federal appeals court ruling led the University of Texas law school to stop considering race in admissions.