How Texas A&M Boosted Minority Enrollment Without Affirmative Action

Black and Hispanic enrollment at the university has more than doubled since 2003.

By Alexandra HartJune 21, 2016 2:31 pm| ,

In the next few days – perhaps even hours – we’re expecting to hear from the U.S. Supreme Court on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the long-contested case challenging the consideration of race in admissions at the University of Texas.

UT has maintained that consideration of race is necessary to ensure diversity and boost minority enrollment. But if it’s necessary, what accounts for what’s happened at rival school Texas A&M University? Since 2003, Texas A&M has not used affirmative action in its admissions process, and the numbers might surprise you.

Scott McDonald, director of admissions at Texas A&M, says that after Grutter V. Bollinger established that race could in fact be used as a considering factor in admissions, then-president Robert Gates decided not to use affirmative action. Instead, the university would focus more on recruitment.

“What he did was really supply the funding for our office of admissions and financial aid offices to go out and establish our prospective student centers across the state,” McDonald says, “and actually go into the high schools where underserved populations are.”

Since then, black and Hispanic enrollment has more than doubled from 2003 – jumping from 10.8 percent to 23.1 percent.

“He wanted all students admitted to A&M admitted on their merits,” McDonald says, “either in the classroom or what they have done outside the classroom.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.