Posted on March 29, 2023

U.S. Colleges Face Loss of Racial Diversity If Race-Conscious Admissions Banned, Study Shows

Gabriella Borter, Reuters, March 28, 2023

If the U.S. Supreme Court bans the consideration of race in college admissions, enrollment of minority groups at selective colleges will likely stall or decline – even if the schools give more weight to factors such as class, a new study found.

The conservative-leaning court will issue rulings this spring in cases questioning the legality of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

Students for Fair Admissions, the group suing Harvard and UNC, argues that class-conscious admissions would allow schools to create a diverse student body and boost disadvantaged students without focusing on race.

But a study released on Tuesday by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that admissions practices that consider class – defined by family income and parental education and occupational prestige – but not race would still leave selective colleges without the representation of Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and Pacific Islander students seen in U.S. high schools.

To increase enrollment of all underrepresented groups on campus without race-conscious admissions, the study said, schools would need to overhaul the entire process.

That would involve eliminating the consideration of students’ athletic talent and their ties to school alumni or donors – factors that largely benefit white, affluent applicants, the study said.