The Future of Fair Admissions comprises three issue briefs identifying areas of the admissions process at selective colleges and universities that demand reform. Admissions reform to expand access and opportunity for underrepresented students and to increase diversity on their campuses is long overdue, but it has become imperative in light of the likelihood that the Supreme Court will strike down the use of race-conscious admissions policies in its current term.
Issue Brief One: Early Decision
This brief analyzes the early decision admissions process, identifies ways in which it limits access to students of color and from low- and middle-income backgrounds, and recommends policy changes that will limit the advantages early decision provides to wealthy, well-resourced applicants.
Issue Brief 2: Legacy Admissions
This brief analyzes the extent and impact of legacy preferences on college admissions. It recounts the long history of opposition to legacy preferences, identifies how legacy preferences limit access to opportunity for students of color and from low- and middle-income backgrounds and increase the public’s distrust of higher education, and recommends policy changes that will increase transparency and accountability for an admissions practice that had no place in a democracy or, better, ban the practice outright.
Issue Brief 3: Transparency & Accountability
This brief calls for greater transparency and accountability in college admissions. In order to address long-standing racial and ethnic gaps in bachelor’s degree attainment that are likely to be exacerbated by a Supreme Court decision expected to bar institutions of higher education from considering race in their admissions processes, the Department of Education should expand its collection of admissions data and disaggregate that data by race, ethnicity, gender, and, when possible, socioeconomic status. The Department should also collect data on legacy preferences or early decision plans, two admissions practices shown to have detrimental effects on diversity at selective colleges.