Affirmative Action Challenge and Supreme Court Guidance

Supreme Court Cases: Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and UNC

America’s higher education institutions have long recognized and cultivated the educational benefits of diversity. AACRAO believes holistic admissions practices are instrumental in helping institutions to identify students who are likely to thrive in their educational programs.

We will continue our efforts in support of equitable access to education. Our meetings, workshops, and digital platforms will continue to have space for institutions to work towards confronting implicit bias and addressing systemic inequities. We will provide support to institutions as they reframe their admissions plans in light of this legislation, while ensuring that the successes of minoritized students are not set back. And we will work to ensure that data-informed processes are built to develop and improve student support and programming. 

Read our statement on the rulings to learn more. 


The Supreme Court Speaks: Understanding the Implications of Race-Conscious Admission Decision

3:00-4:30 PM ET | JULY 19, 2023

AACRAO, NACAC, NASFAA have joined together to present a webinar on the SFFA v Harvard and UNC cases. This webinar will provide attendees with a streamlined, practical analysis of two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging race-conscious admission policies: Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC.

Register Now

Looking Back, Planning Ahead

On February 2, 2023, AACRAO hosted a webinar that examines the pending U.S. Supreme cases where the central question is whether colleges and universities can continue to consider an applicant’s race and ethnicity as part of the holistic review process in admissions.

View Recording

AACRAO Process Examination Guidelines

AACRAO encourages members to begin to examine any admissions or recruitment practices that target populations of a specific race as well as their overall holistic/equity admissions practices.

To assist in this process, AACRAO is providing this guidance document to prepare our members for a possible major change in their ability to consider an applicant’s race and ethnicity as part of a holistic/equity review in admissions. 



Lawmakers Urge Education Dept. to Address Racial and Ethnic Gaps in Higher Ed

Mar 9, 2023, 13:57 PM
legacy id :
Summary : Letter calls on the agency to expand the collection of college admissions data to better address access and attainment gaps, particularly ahead of the Supreme Court's forthcoming decisions impacting the use of race in admissions.
Url :

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) led a bicameral group of lawmakers in a letter urging the Education Department to better address racial and ethnic gaps in higher education access and attainment by expanding the collection of college admissions data, according to a press release.

"Despite a shrinking difference in racial and ethnic gaps of high school diploma attainment, there remains a significant and worrisome gap between Black, Hispanic, and Native American adults and white adults in the attainment of bachelor's degrees," the lawmakers wrote. 

"We are deeply concerned with the persistent racial inequities in access to postsecondary education and in the attainment of bachelor's degrees," the letter continues. "To adequately address the issue, researchers, leaders and policymakers require more information."

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in the coming months on two cases challenging the consideration of race in college admissions. In anticipation of those forthcoming decisions, the lawmakers suggest that more detail is needed to understand the racial dynamic of college admissions.

"Race-conscious admissions policies are a critical tool for advancing racial equity, diversity, and access in higher education," the letter states. "After the elimination of such practices in both California and Texas, admissions rates for Black and Hispanic students dropped precipitously, leading to long-term, negative effects on the income and social mobility of Black and Hispanic communities, many of whom were denied access to the personal, professional, and socioeconomic growth so often facilitated by higher education."

To "increase transparency and close the gap on higher education attainment," the lawmakers call on the Education Department to include three new components to its data collection efforts:

  • racial and ethnic demographic data for applicants, admits, and enrollments;
  • whether an institution of higher education (IHE) uses legacy preferences; and
  • whether an IHE uses early action or early decision admissions.

"The inclusion of these three components would allow for stakeholders to track racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities throughout the entirety of the admissions process and see how the practices of legacy admissions and early decision impact access and diversity in higher education," the lawmakers conclude. "Increasing transparency is a powerful signal that this administration can send about its commitment to diversity and access in postsecondary education."

Related Link

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley’s Press Release

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • Advocacy
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Holistic Admissions
Tags :
  • Access and Equity
  • Affirmative Action
  • Affirmative Action Challenge
  • education department
  • educational attainment
  • Federal relations
  • in the courts
  • legacy admissions
  • race-conscious
  • racial/ethnic gaps
  • student mobility
  • supreme court
Related people