Affirmative Action At Risk

Affirmative action involves sets of policies and practices within an institution seeking to include particular groups based on their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas such groups are underrepresented. Affirmative action has been a reliable tool used for decades by higher education institutions to advance racial equity in The United States of America. As a result of Affirmative Action, colleges and universities experience greater diversity and better fulfill their educational missions.

As of October 2022 in two cases against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina from Plaintiff "Students For Fair Admissions", affirmative action has been called into question. The ultimate aim is to disallow colleges from taking race into consideration for admissions. The policies were initially created to level the playing field for students of colour after years of racial discrimination. Professors and Colleges have continued to protest citing the need for diverse communities. Despite this, the ruling in March is expected to end Affirmative Action.
Ending affirmative action will generate profound consequences that will impact people of color.
For Example:
Legacy preferences benefit students who come from backgrounds of college educated families which historically have been white families.
Some colleges and universities evaluate students based on how many Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses they have taken, but schools that serve students of color and low-income students are less likely to offer these courses.
Test Scores are correlated with income which is correlated with race. Students of color tend to have lower test scores. Eliminating affirmative action would defacto place them at a disadvantage (many colleges are now test optional yet most still tie test scores to scholarships).

Declining Black Student Enrollment 
We know from the experiences in states where race-conscious admissions have ended, for example, in Michigan and California, Black student enrollment has decreased by more than 25% and Latinx student enrollment has decreased by nearly 20%, according to multiple studies.

In Conclusion, AIM believes that affirmative action policies benefit all students. Diverse learning environments enrich the college experience for everyone and better prepare students of all races to succeed in a multicultural society.

  • Written by Breanna Ellis - AIM College Counselor
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