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Dive Brief:

  • Yale University announced Thursday it will rework its admissions and enrollment policies — including no longer factoring race into financial aid decisions — to end a lawsuit from an anti-affirmative action group. 
  • That group, Students for Fair Admissions, led lawsuits against race-conscious policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in June. SFFA had similarly challenged Yale’s practices in 2021, but that complaint was put on hold until after the Supreme Court decision. 
  • The Ivy League institution said in court filings it will update its admissions training materials to highlight it won’t rely on race. The university will also ensure admissions workers can’t access applicants’ “check-box” data on race. And it won’t analyze “any aggregate data with regard to the racial composition of admitted students” for the admissions cycle.

Dive Insight:

The Supreme Court decision didn’t affect admissions policies at most colleges, as they accept all or a majority of their applicants. 

However, higher ed leaders have grown concerned the ruling could cause institutions to abandon other programs — like scholarships — designed to help historically marginalized students. That’s despite the Supreme Court ruling only applying to admissions.

This has come to pass, with the University of Missouri System this summer announcing it would no longer consider race in scholarship decisions

Yale is similarly moving away from race as a financial aid consideration, much to the chagrin of college access advocates. 

The move might not change Yale’s financial aid practices, as it offers highly generous packages, James Murphy, deputy director of higher ed policy at think tank Education Reform Now, noted on X, formerly Twitter.

However, “it sets up a dangerous precedent for institutions that are not Yale,” Murphy wrote Thursday.

Yale officials said in a statement Thursday that though the Supreme Court decision altered the law, the Connecticut university’s values are unchanged. They pledged to continue to try to diversify the campus, including by hiring two new full-time admissions staff members to help work year round with college access organizations.

“Finally, we hope you will support these efforts in your own way by encouraging the next generation of Yale students to join our supportive community, where we believe diversity is essential to innovation, strength, and excellence,” the officials said.