Lee's next slide shows three columns of numbers from a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant's race is worth. She points to the first column.
African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says.
She points to the second column.
“Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”
The last column draws gasps.
Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission.
“Do Asians need higher test scores? Is it harder for Asians to get into college? The answer is yes,” Lee says.
“Zenme keyi,” one mother hisses in Chinese.
Those who defend “holistic” admissions policies insist that considering a broader range of variables ensures that all applicants are judged fairly. And the Princeton study Lee refers to has been widely criticized by academics who argue that it relies too heavily on grades and test scores to draw conclusions about racial bias and that the data the study uses are too old to be relevant.
Still, anxiety over racial admissions rates is peaking as cash-crunched public universities increasingly favor high-paying out-of-state and foreign students at the expense of local applicants of every ethnicity. A 2014 bill that would have asked voters to consider restoring race as a factor in admissions to public California colleges and universities sparked multiple public protests and scathing editorials in Chinese newspapers. The bill, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, was shelved last year.