Early this year, California Governor Gray Davis (Dem.) announced a new proposal that was designed to off-set huge declines in minority enrollment caused by state affirmative action bans including Proposition 209, which passed in 1996. Under the new proposal, the University of California would admit all applicants who graduated in the top 4% of their high school classes provided that they have completed college preparatory courses and meet other minimum requirements.
In addition to benefiting students at largely-minority and inner city high schools, the new policy would also benefit students in poorer or rural areas, who are also under-represented at UC. The educational policy committee of the University's Board of Regents has now approved the proposal, and the full board will vote to approve or reject it today.
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante said of the "4 percent" plan, "With this action, we are creating equal access for high-achieving, hard-working students -- be they from the suburbs, our urban centers or our rural areas."
Critics charge that the new proposal will do little to increase minority representation unless additional financial aid is offered to needy students.