ACLU: Nevada College Standards Hurt Minorities

A plan to raise admission standards for Nevada's two universities could hurt minority students and should be postponed, an official with the American Civil Liberties Union said.

"It will hurt minority enrollment at the two universities, and Nevada has no proven record for students moving from community colleges and transferring to the university," said Richard Siegel, president of the ACLU of Nevada.

Regents will hear a report Thursday on the impact of raising the required grade point average for the University of Nevada, Reno and
University of Las Vegas.

In fall 2006, the schools increased the required GPA from 2.5 to 2.75.

The standard is set to rise to 3.0 beginning in fall 2008.

Siegel said after the first increase, Hispanic student enrollment at UNR dropped 13 percent, but enrollment for black, Asian and American Indian students increased.

Minority enrollment took a bigger hit at the UNLV, dropping 29 percent for black students, 17 percent for Hispanics, 52 percent for American Indians and 6 percent for Asians.

"They were really blindsided at UNLV after they raised the requirement to 2.75, and I think it will happen again with the 3.0, and it could happen at both campuses," Siegel said.

Instead of the GPA, students can use college entrance exam SAT and ACT scores to gain admission, but Siegel said data show white and Asian students do better on those standardized tests.

He said the ACLU supports a proposal from university presidents to increase the number of "special admissions," which take into consideration more than grades and test scores for admission.

The number of special admissions would increase from the current 10 percent of the incoming freshmen population on campus to 20 percent, Siegel said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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