Friday, February 26, 2010

The Logic of "Yield" in Calculations of Diversity:

The Logic of "Yield" in Calculations of Diversity:

It is not enough for the UC system to have policies that increase minority admissions. One often neglected issue is what the UC administration terms "yield rate": the percentage of students who receive offers of admission and then choose to enroll in the UC system.

K. Wayne Yang, an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at UCSD recently wrote an open letter to the UC San Diego community. Yang makes reference to the 2007 UCSD "Yield Report" and analyzes some of the underlying causes of the UCSD's extremely low yield rate for historically underrepresented minorities (only about 13% of African American" admitted to UCSD choose to enroll there). As Professor Yang puts it, "We have a 1.3% African-American student enrollment, not simply because of poor admissions, but because admitted students don’t choose to come to UCSD."

A UC Office of the President chart lists the "Applications, Admissions, and Enrollment of California Resident Freshmen from 1995-2005." In 2005, yield rates for Asian Americans, East Indian and Pakistani Americans, and Filipino Americans were higher than the overall yield rate (53%). Yield rates for all other groups were lower -- African American and American Indian yield rates were the lowest.

Asian American: 67% (9761/14,559)
East Indian/Pakistani: 63% (957/1511)
Filipino American: 54% (1536/2833)
Other: 51% (539/1052)
Unknown: 50% (1420/2824)
Latino: 49% (1192/2431)
White: 47% (10,165/21,779)
Chicano: 47% (3460/7226)
African American: 46% (909/1961)
American Indian: 43% (144/326)

One unstated reason why President Yudof has made statements like "they'll be fine" in reference to how Asian Americans will be affected by the new 2012 admissions policy may have to do with a belief that current yield rates will remain largely the same after the policy takes effect. (E.g. even if the admissions numbers of Asian Americans go down, the yield rate will still be "high" and may even increase).

BOARS admits that the UCOP studies lack predictive power because they are unable to "model [future applicant] behavior by extrapolating on the basis of past applicant behavior." This problem is exacerbated because, "[a]s we enter an era of substantial demographic shifts and financial uncertainty, the ability to predict which students will apply and where they will apply is even more uncertain."

Of course, if neither BOARS nor UCOP can properly model future behavior based on past yield rates, then there is no clear reason why anyone should assert that Asian Americans, or any other group, will be fine.

But UCs low yield rates for underrepresented minorities do give reason for concern about the efficacy of the new 2012 admissions policy. As the UCSD Yield Report argues: "simply admitting highly qualified students to the campus does not guarantee enrollments. This is especially true for historically underrepresented minority populations."

Professor Yang points out that despite the particularly dismal yield rates at UCSD, the recommendations for structural changes at UC San Diego for improving yield have "by-and-large NOT been implemented despite 2 years of research and 3 years of reading time." Yield rates for underrepresented minorities at UCSD and other UC campuses will continue to be low without fundamental structural changes to support organizations and campus institutions that aid underrepresented students and address campus climates that dissuade minorities from attending a UC campus in the first place.

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