Posted on February 26, 2019

Most Americans Say Colleges Should Not Consider Race or Ethnicity in Admissions

Nikki Graf, Pew Research Center, February 25, 2019

As the debate over college admissions policies reignites, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most Americans (73%) say colleges and universities should not consider race or ethnicity when making decisions about student admissions. Just 7% say race should be a major factor in college admissions, while 19% say it should be a minor factor.


While majorities across racial and ethnic groups agree that race should not be a factor in college admissions, white adults are particularly likely to hold this view: 78% say this, compared with 65% of Hispanics, 62% of blacks and 59% of Asians (the Asian sample includes only those who speak English).


When asked about eight admissions criteria that colleges may consider, high school grades top the list. {snip} Most Americans also think colleges should take into account community service involvement.

The public is more divided, however, over whether being the first person in the family to go to college should factor into admissions decisions. {snip}

In addition to race or ethnicity, majorities also say that colleges should not consider an applicant’s gender (81%), whether a relative attended the school (68%) — a practice known as legacy admissions — or athletic ability (57%) when making decisions.


Note: See full results and methodology here.