The U.S. Supreme Court side-steps affirmative action by sending the University of Texas case back to a lower court.
One of the authors of UT's Top 10 Percent program says he can't believe the case involving Abigail Fisher, a white woman, got as far as it did.
"She looks around and says gosh there's a lot of Mexicans here, and gosh there's more blacks here than I thought, so I should be admitted even though I wasn't admissible through the regular admissions process or through the special admissions process," says Dr. Michael Olivas at the University of Houston.
Olivas tells KTRH News public institutions can't win either way.
"They either can't use affirmative action like Fisher doesn't want, and other groups say they can't use a percentage plan," he says. "We shouldn't be making admissions decisions by ballot measures, and we shouldn't be making them by courts."
Fisher herself, spoke to reporters just hours after the ruling.
"Its been a great privelege to witness how our legal system works to seek justice for an individual like me," Fisher said. "The most important lesson I've learned during the last five years is to stick by your ideals even if it means some personal sacrifice."
One of Fisher's lawyers argues schools need to be race-neutral when it comes to admissions.
"Schools have an obligation to implement race-neutral criteria to see if that will achieve diversity before introducing race-based affirmative action," said Edward Bloom with the Project on Fair Representation.
Gerald Treece with the South Texas College of Law says the high court essentially ruled that UT did not explain its policy well enough for a ruling to be made.
"While Ms. Fisher's side seems to have won a victory sort of, the University of Texas is now going to have to explain that while they had the authority to use of race as a factor, that race was not used as the determining factor," says Treece.
Treece says the case may come up again when the Supreme Court hears yet another affirmative action case from Michigan in the fall.
Civil rights advocates are applauding Monday's decision, which essentially keeps intact a 2003 ruling allowing affirmative action in college admissions.
However, MALDEF's David Hinojosa admits policies at UT and elsewhere may have to be adjusted.
"Essentially at the end of the day this is basically where a check engine light comes on," Hinojosa said during a conference call. "Without looking under the hood, Fisher said throw away the car, don't even salvage it. What the court has said is let's look under the hood."
MALDEF, the NAACP and others say they'll assist universities to better fit their affirmative action policies under the 2003 ruling.
University of Texas President Bill Powers said Monday's ruling will have no impact on the schools' admissions policy.
Powers said the school is encouraged by the ruling and that its admissions policy follows standards already set by the high court 10 years ago. He says the school will continue to defend its use of race as a factor in some admissions and remains committed to diversity.