UMMS Affiliation

Office of Educational Affairs, Division of Research and Evaluation

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Education; New England; Universities; School Admission Criteria; Cultural Diversity; Minority Groups


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


This report reviews the practice of Affirmative Admissions as a strategy for achieving diversity within New England colleges and universities. It shows how educational leaders perceive Affirmative Admissions, the nature of regional Affirmative Admissions policies, and the numbers of student affected by current enrollment strategies. This report is part of a larger series on educational access and opportunity in New England. Research was organized into five components: (1) analysis of pertinent legal issues related to postsecondary access and equity; (2) interviews with postsecondary campus and state leaders (n=104); (3) interviews with K-12 leaders and educators at state, district, and school levels (n=45); (4) a survey of 221 postsecondary education institutions in New England; and (5) econometric analyses of student data. The focus was on groups of institutions, 18 groups clustered by admissions policies and restrictions. The most compelling conclusion is that there is no significant evidence that colleges have reduced standards to admit greater numbers of minority students. By increasing educational access to a broader segment of the population, the regions higher education institutions have taken crucial steps toward assuring the vitality and vibrancy of New Englands future economy and civic life. The study also indicates that the pool of qualified minority students is much too small, highlighting the need to improve the preparation of minority students. Three appendixes contain details about survey methodology, participating institutions, and regression coefficients.

Prepared by the Center for Education Policy (CEP) and Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research (MISER), University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Sponsored by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Office of Institutional Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Publications