Law School Admissions


Racial and Ethnic Preferences in Admissions at the University of Nebraska College of Law

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



affirmative action


For over thirty years, racial and ethnic preferences have played a key role in how admissions officers at many of the nation’s public and private institutions of higher learning have chosen their classes. A system of racial and ethnic preferences in admissions operates by establishing different standards of admission for individuals based upon their racial or ethnic background, with some students held to a higher standard and others admitted at a lower standard. Earlier in this century, some colleges and universities denied admission to Jews, blacks, women, and members of other groups even when their grades, test scores, and other measures of academic achievement surpassed those of white males who were offered an opportunity to enroll. The passage of new civil rights legislation in the 1960s made this kind of discrimination illegal.

Since then, however, many colleges, universities, and professional schools have created programs meant to boost the enrollment of students whose backgrounds previously had excluded them from pursuing a higher education – especially blacks and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics – by granting them preferences during the admissions process.

This study of the University of Nebraska College of Law builds on previous work on racial and ethnic preferences in undergraduate, law, and medical school admissions done for the Center for Equal Opportunity and is one of several CEO studies since the Grutter decision. As with CEO’s reports on three Virginia public law schools and the University of Michigan law school, CEO sought the data on individual applicants’ admission status, matriculation status, racial/ethnic group membership, sex, in-state or out-of-state residency, LSAT scores, and undergraduate GPAs.