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Race, Class, and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape

  • Author(s): Espinosa, Lorelle L
  • Gaertner, Matthew N
  • Orfield, Gary
  • et al.
Abstract

Headlines surrounding the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions are often incomplete and ill-informed, promoting polarization and deflecting attention from practices that promote racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in higher education. As colleges and universities seek to educate an increas- ingly diverse American citizenry and achieve the associated educational aims, it is imperative that post- secondary leaders, policymakers, researchers, and members of the media better understand the work and challenges facing institutions in this current legal climate.

This report attempts to broaden that understanding and further much-needed dialogue on how institutions can best respond to a shifting policy and legal landscape at a time when access to postsecondary education has never been more vital and our American citizenry never so diverse. We examine contemporary admis- sions practices at four-year colleges and universities across a wide range of selectivity in the context of recent legal challenges to race-conscious admissions, including the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

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