Despite lower numbers of black freshmen attending the University of Florida this year, the university decided Thursday to ban race-based scholarships. Officials said the trend of affirmative action (i.e., race-based admissions and scholarships) is actually illegal and ineffective at recruiting minorities.
However, too little research has been conducted to prove whether there is a need for the targeting aid and what effect Gov. Jeb Bush?s One Florida Initiative has had on universities in the past year. Until such data is collected, UF should not have banned race-based scholarships.
Officials at UF reported that only 7.2 percent of its freshmen class is African American. That is down from 12 percent in 2000-2001, which was the last year before One Florida was instituted. The approximately 50 minority-focused scholarships offered at UF will now be available to all students.
But with a disproportionate number of white students, minorities will have less of a chance to earn a scholarship. The specially designated scholarships gave minorities both a more fair opportunity at gaining a scholarship and was an incentive to minorities who could not financially compete at other schools.
Increased advertising attempts and focus on minorities was supposed to have maintained minority enrollment levels. Though the enrollment numbers of minorities is projected to be an all-time high, the individual number for African Americans and Hispanics dropped this year in comparison to last year?s numbers.
With such knowledge and statistics in mind, UF should reinstate race-based scholarships until research can be done to reveal what recruitment tools work the best in attracting minorities, as well as to ensure that One Florida is not hindering the admission of minorities into the state?s universities.