Ahead of a closely watched Supreme Court decision that may significantly affect the admissions practices of some of the nation’s top colleges, half of U.S. adults say they disapprove of selective colleges and universities taking prospective students’ racial and ethnic backgrounds into account when making admissions decisions. Fewer (33%) approve of colleges considering race and ethnicity to increase diversity at the schools, while 16% are not sure.
Nearly half of Black Americans (47%) say they approve of colleges and universities considering prospective students’ racial and ethnic backgrounds when making admissions decisions, compared with 29% who disapprove (24% are not sure).
Among Hispanic Americans, identical shares approve and disapprove of these practices (39% each). Both White and Asian Americans are more likely to disapprove of colleges doing this (57% of White adults and 52% of Asian adults) than to approve (29% and 37%, respectively).
College graduates hold more favorable attitudes about the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions.
- By almost two-to-one, those without college degrees are more likely to disapprove than approve of selective colleges and universities considering race and ethnicity in admissions decisions (52% disapprove vs. 28% approve). In contrast, college graduates are about evenly split (45% approve, 47% disapprove).
- Black, Hispanic and White college graduates are all more likely to approve of these practices than nongraduates of the same racial or ethnic background.
There are large differences between White and Hispanic Republicans in views about race and ethnicity as a factor in college admissions.
- White Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of colleges considering the race and ethnicity of applicants: 78% disapprove, including 51% who strongly disapprove. A smaller share of Hispanic Republicans (55%) disapprove.
Black Americans are more likely than those in other groups to report personal experiences with efforts to increase diversity.
- About a quarter of U.S. adults (24%) say they have personally been disadvantaged in their education or career by efforts to increase racial and ethnic diversity, while about one-in-ten (11%) say they have ever benefited from these efforts.
- Black Americans are more likely to report experiencing both of these: 35% say they have been disadvantaged by these efforts, while 20% say they have benefited (including 11% who say they have been both advantaged and disadvantaged). And while 15% of all Americans say that others have assumed they benefited unfairly from these efforts, 28% of Black adults say this has happened to them.