Some Colleges Will No Longer Consider Race in Awarding Student Scholarships

"Several colleges have moved to eliminate the consideration of race in awarding student scholarships since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that race-conscious admissions are unconstitutional," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"The court did not directly address scholarships and financial aid in its ruling on admissions policies at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Yet some institutions, including the University of Kentucky and the University of Missouri system, have interpreted the decision as forbidding them to consider race or ethnicity in scholarships as well as admissions.

... Karen McCarthy, vice president for public policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said institutions would be seeking ways to recruit and retain students of color while still complying with the law.

If the federal government doubled the Pell Grant, for example, institutions could enroll more low-income students.

'That’s not directly targeted toward race,' she said, 'but because it’s targeted toward low-income students, then that is targeted toward more-diverse student populations.'

Not all institutions will be affected by the reconsideration of student-aid policies, McCarthy said, because they don’t all offer race-based scholarships.

She said she would not be surprised if the court’s decision affected selective institutions the most because they have historically been the least diverse and have worked for years to increase their diversity. The end of race-conscious admissions primarily will affect the policies of selective institutions; the vast majority of colleges nationwide accept most applicants and do not consider race in decisions.

The association of financial-aid officials is encouraging institutions to work with their lawyers to make sure they’re in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives.

'My biggest takeaway is that because the decision did not directly address scholarships, there’s still a lot that we do not know,' McCarthy said. 'So I’d be interested to see how attorneys address this decision.'"

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Publication Date: 6/30/2023

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