US Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Affirmative action in college admissions has been a contentious issue, and the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has significant implications for race-conscious policies.  

Striking Down Race-Conscious Policies 

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down race-conscious policies in college admissions. These policies, which aimed to increase the diversity of student bodies, had been widely used by schools across the nation. 

The Aim of Affirmative Action 

The primary aim of affirmative action in higher education is to enhance student diversity. By considering various factors, including race, colleges and universities seek to create an inclusive and enriching educational experience for all students. 

The Holistic Approach to Admissions 

In the holistic approach, colleges review multiple aspects of an applicant’s profile, including grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. This comprehensive evaluation allows institutions to assess an individual’s potential beyond academic achievements alone. 

Varying Approaches among Schools 

Not all schools consider race in their admissions processes. While many selective institutions utilize race-conscious policies, others adopt alternative methods to achieve diversity on their campuses. 

State Policies and Legal Challenges 

Nine states have banned the use of race in admissions policies at public colleges and universities. In recent years, legal challenges brought by Students for Fair Admissions have contested affirmative action policies, including claims of unlawful discrimination against Asian American applicants at Harvard University. 

Past Rulings and the Supreme Court’s Stance 

In the landmark 1978 case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court ruled that schools could not use affirmative action to rectify past racial discrimination. However, the Court recognized the “compelling interest” of increasing campus diversity, emphasizing the benefits of exposing students to diverse viewpoints. 

Revamping Policies for Ensuring Diversity 

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, colleges and universities will need to revamp their policies and explore new methods of ensuring diversity in their student populations. The ruling challenges institutions to find innovative approaches to maintain an inclusive environment. 



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