Chicago — In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down race-conscious college admissions practices, the Biden Administration released new guidance to help institutions recruit and admit diverse classes while complying with the law.
The guidance, which consists of a seven page Q&A from the Departments of Education and Justice accompanied by a letter, reminds college leaders that they can still identify potential barriers underrepresented students might face during the admissions process and that they can focus on recruiting in high minority areas. It also urged schools to bolster their student retention programs and reminded them that they could consider how race affected an applicant’s life.
According to a Education Department press release, the guidance aims to provide “much-needed clarity on how [college leaders] can lawfully promote and support diversity, and expand access to educational opportunity for all following the Supreme Court’s disappointing ruling on affirmative action.”
“With respect to admissions practices themselves, especially for the upcoming cycle, the Departments encourage colleges and universities to review their policies to ensure they identify and reward those attributes that they most value, such as hard work, achievement, intellectual curiosity, potential and determination,” the administration wrote in a letter.
The guidance also encourages colleges to consider getting rid of policies that some say limit racial diversity like preferences for legacy students and the children of donors.
“Ensuring access to higher education for students from different backgrounds is one of the most powerful tools we have to prepare graduates to lead an increasingly diverse nation and make real our country’s promise of opportunity for all,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a statement.
In September, the Education Department will unveil a report to highlight practices that “build inclusive, diverse student bodies, including how colleges can give serious consideration to measure of adversity when selecting among qualified applicant,” according to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter: @noahwritestoo.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett