Posted on April 12, 2023

Harvard Admits Record Number of Asian American Students While Black and Latino Admissions Drop

Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News, April 4, 2023

Harvard University admitted a record number of Asian American students to its class of 2027, a move experts are wary of celebrating given the drop in admissions of most other minority groups. It comes as the Supreme Court continues deliberations on a lawsuit brought against Harvard by a right-wing group that alleges race-conscious admissions discriminate against white and Asian students.

In a breakdown of the incoming class released by the university last week, Harvard revealed that 29.9% of admitted applicants are Asian American. It’s a 2.1% jump from last year’s number.


There are a couple of possible reasons for this, said Julie Park, an associate professor at the University of Maryland who studies racial equity in high education. One could be an increase in Asian American legacy admits, which favors children of Harvard alumni in the admissions process. It also coincides with a population growth of Asian American young adults and high school graduates in the U.S. generally.

“Race-conscious admissions can be very dynamic and institution-specific,” she told NBC News. “Under race-conscious admissions, Harvard has a very sizable Asian American class. … It’s just a natural byproduct that you’re just going to numerically have at Harvard, unless they step away from legacy admissions, which I actually think they should.”


The Supreme Court is currently preparing a decision on Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, a lawsuit that alleges the Ivy League university‘s race-conscious admissions process discriminates against Asian applicants.


What concerns experts is that, for the second year in a row at Harvard, Black and Latino admits dropped, comprising 15.3% and 11.3% respectively. Native Hawaiian and Native American admits are also down from last year, sitting at 0.5% and 2% respectively.

“While you have seen growth in the Asian American high school graduate population, it is nothing compared to the growth in the Latinx population,” she said. “So it’s really concerning and illuminating that you’re not seeing that similar uptick in admitted students among the Black and Latinx students. {snip}”


Park also cited the university’s high tuition and its emphasis on matriculating athletes, which she says tends to favor white recruits.

“They have these policies that are trying to facilitate equity, but they also have these policies that undermine equity,” she said. {snip}