Posted on September 25, 2015

Princeton Did Not Discriminate Against Asian Applicants, Feds Say

Chris Fuchs, NBC News, September 24, 2015

The United States Department of Education has concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Princeton University discriminates against Asian or Asian-American applicants, as was alleged in two separate complaints.

In a letter to Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights noted that while the New Jersey Ivy League school sometimes uses race and national origin in its admissions decisions, it does so lawfully to promote diversity within its student body.


Although the review found that in some cases admissions officers or alumni interviewers did record notes about Asian applicants that evoke Asian stereotypes, using words like “shy” or “quiet” as descriptors, they also did this with candidates who were not Asian, according to the letter.

“OCR’s review found that the university’s use of race and national origin in admissions is consistent with the strict scrutiny standards established by the Supreme Court,” the letter said.

For Princeton’s class of 2019, 22 percent of the 1,322 students enrolled were Asian American, according to the school’s website. There were 27,290 applicants, with an admittance rate of 7.1 percent.


The OCR’s findings come more than two months after the U.S. Education Department dismissed a complaint filed against Harvard University alleging that it too discriminated against Asian applicants. That complaint was closed because of an on-going lawsuit filed last November by Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. that made the same accusations against Harvard University.