A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is expected soon in a Texas case that could result in a declaration that race-based admissions policies at universities and colleges nationwide violate the constitution.

California's public universities already operate under an affirmative action ban -- Proposition 209 -- that voters passed in 1996. But the Supreme Court ruling could have implications for the state's private colleges if they receive federal funding.

Proposition 209 had a sweeping effect on admissions at the University of California's most selective campuses: UC Berkeley and UCLA.

  • In 1998, the year it took effect, the admissions rate for black students applying to enter UC Berkeley's freshman class fell from 47.8 percent to 19.7 percent; Latino students saw their chances of freshman admission go from 44.4 percent to 20.6 percent.

  • At UCLA, the admission rate for African-American freshmen applicants fell from 37.6 percent to 23 percent in 1998; for Latino applicants, it dropped from 40.4 percent to 24.3 percent.

  • More than half of California's public high school graduates in 2010 were black, Latino or Native American, a percentage that continues to grow. That year, students of those ethnicities made up just 25 percent of the UC system's freshmen class and 15 percent of the freshmen at UC Berkeley.


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  • Each year, many thousands of students transfer to the UC system from a community college. Systemwide, the admission rates for transfer applicants were higher than they were for new freshmen: 58 percent of African-American transfer applicants, about 72 percent of Latino and white applicants and 75.9 percent of Asian-American applicants were accepted for the fall 2010 term.

  • At UC Berkeley, the transfer admissions rates in the fall of 2010 were: 22.5 percent for black applicants, 27.1 percent for Latinos, 25.1 percent for Asian-Americans and 28.1 percent for white students.