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Strategies for Scholarship and Admissions Policies to Advance Access and Diversity

By NASFAA Policy & Federal Relations Staff

Recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court have upended the landscape of higher education policies and practices. Last year’s ruling concerning the consideration of race, in both college admissions and scholarships, have raised significant questions about what practices remain permissible.

In order to work through the implications of this case, SFFA v. Harvard/UNC, attendees of the 2024 NASFAA National Conference had the opportunity to hear from Art Coleman, founding partner at Education Counsel, and Rachelle Feldman, vice provost of enrollment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Coleman provided a walkthrough of the key takeaways, policy implications, fallout, and financial aid implications of the court’s decision. He also highlighted that one of the hurdles institutions of higher education now find themselves navigating is how to sustain diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals, while also mitigating legal risks at the same time.

“If there was ever a moment for every individual involved in recruitment, in outreach, in pathways, in transfer, in admissions, in financial aid… for the articulation and design of a coherent policy that leverages every aspect of every facet of the moment, this moment is now,” Coleman said.

Feldman provided an institutional perspective, and shared that before the court decision, UNC Chapel Hill was leaning into their mission of trying to reach underserved populations across the entire state. They are now thinking through ways of finding leaders of tomorrow, without undoing their mission, while also ensuring they stay within the confines of the court decision.

During a Q&A portion attendees asked a wide range of questions, and sought advice on how to collaborate with external donors if scholarship agreements need revisions and updates.

In response to some questions, panelists recommended that institutions be intentional about their outreach and recruitment strategies in order to comply with the implications of the court’s decision. 


Publication Date: 6/20/2024

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