Four states, Alabama, Mississippi, New York and Texas, are currently involved in litigation charging alleged discrimination in state appropriations to public universities with substantial enrollments of minority students. Two of the actions , those in Alabama and Mississippi, include the United States as plaintiff.
Higher education, with few exceptions, has traditionally been within the purview of the individual states. The Alabama and Mississippi findings, however, demand that the affected states respond to directives from the federal level. Whether the court proceedings are viewed as justified or unjustified , they are especially significant and are likely to play a role in the direction higher education takes as it moves into the next century; both in the precedents set by the remedies found for each of the cases and by the function of the federal government in state higher education policies.