Analysis of the Michigan Merit Award Scholarship Program

January 28, 2003

In response to a discovery request, the state of Michigan on October 16 produced a data file of the Michigan Merit Award Scholarship qualifiers and non-qualifiers from the high school graduating class of 2002. I analyzed those data to calculate scholarship qualification rates by race, and compared the rates to the earlier cohort of students (high school class of 2000) that I analyzed for the initial filing of the White, et al. v. Engler, et al. lawsuit. The Scholarship rules mandate that students take all four subtests of the MEAP high school test to qualify for an award. The results are in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Scholarship Eligibility by Racial Group in 2000 and 2002

 

A

B

C

D

E




Racial/Ethnic Group

Total # of students taking all 4 subtests - 2002


# qualifying for scholarship - 2002

% qualifying for scholarship – 2002
(B/A)


% qualifying for scholarship – 2000*

Difference – 2002 to 2000
(C – D)

Native American

861

318

36.9%

29.0%

7.9%

Asian/Pacific Islander

2,290

1,421

62.1%

57.2%

4.9%

African American

9,636

1,675

17.4%

12.2%

5.2%

Hispanic

2,282

852

37.3%

33.3%

4.0%

White

72,863

44,012

60.4%

53.3%

7.1%

Multiracial

1,577

762

48.3%

39.9%

8.4%

Other

2,222

887

39.9%

39.6%

0.3%

Missing

3,781

1,744

46.1%

48.4%

–2.3%

Total

95,512

51,671

54.1%

46.9%

7.2%

4/5 of White rate

 

 

48.3%

42.6%

 

* From my report Supplementary Analysis of the Michigan Merit Scholarship Program First Cohort (High School Class of 2000), dated April 12, 2001, Table 1, column E, for students taking all four sections of the MEAP test.

For all students the scholarship qualification rate increased from 46.9% in 2000 to 54.1% in 2002.  Even though all racial groups increased their scholarship qualification rate, a large disparate impact still exists (as measured by the 4/5 rule) between white students and racial minority students in the 2002 data.  Four-fifths of the white qualification rate of 60.4% in 2002 is 48.3%; the African American (17.4%), Hispanic (37.3%), and Native American (36.9%) qualification rates all fell well below 4/5 of the white rate, as they did in the 2000 cohort of students.

While white students saw a gain in their qualification rate from 2000 to 2002 of 7.1 percentage points, African American students and Hispanic students saw gains of only 5.2 and 4.0 percentage points, respectively.  Of underrepresented minority students, only Native Americans saw a gain exceeding that of white students.

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