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The College Board’s Access & Diversity Collaborative (ADC) exists to provide robust information and tools to higher education institutions as they develop and implement policies and practices in support of educational access and diversity.

We’re a cross-disciplinary group of education professionals and organizations dedicated to upholding the principles of equitable access to higher education for all students and promoting diversity on campus.

As we work to serve higher education institutions and organizations and, ultimately, students, we will continue to be:

  • A voice of national advocacy for comprehensive, evidence-based, and legally sound access and diversity policies. 
  • A resource for sophisticated and pragmatic policy and practice guidance and actionable research to support institutional, mission-based goals, with a focus on the promotion and expansion of educational pathways and opportunities for historically underrepresented populations.
  • A group where thought leaders can work collaboratively on policy and practice development, with a focus on:
    • Supporting the effective use of data and research connected to real-world policy and practice issues.
    • Identifying and developing replicable best practices that reflect sound policy and are legally sustainable.
    • Finding common ground to develop a principled and pragmatic policy and practice agenda.

Learn more about who we are.

Featured News

ADC Events

NASFAA National Conference
June 24-27, 2019. Orlando, FL
Applying Federal Non-Discrimination Laws to Financial Aid
Tuesday, June 25, 2019: 8:30 AM-9:30 AM
Southern Hemisphere III (Walt Disney World Dolphin)

Colleges and universities continue to press forward in their pursuit of diverse, inclusive learning environments where all students can benefit. In doing so, institutional leaders—especially financial aid officials—must balance using financial aid as a tool to expand opportunity and a range of legal, policy, political, and practical considerations in the awarding of financial aid. This Access and Diversity Collaborative (ADC) session will address major federal nondiscrimination laws that govern the awarding of financial aid and scholarships when factors like race, ethnicity, and gender are considered; and will offer examples that align with current federal laws and rules.

NACAC National Conference
September 26-28, 2019. Louisville, KY
Chief Enrollment Management Officers’ Forum
September 25-26, 2019

Chief Enrollment Officers' Forum is designed to inform and support the efforts of the most senior enrollment and admission leaders in postsecondary institutions. The varied demands, including changing demographics, diminishing budgets, and increasing accountability and transparency, heighten the need for innovative and sustainable strategies designed to achieve institutional goals. The workshop engages participants with prominent current and future considerations impacting enrollment management: diversity, access, and inclusion; financial and institutional aid; organizational change and strategic planning. The leadership and facilitators of this workshop incorporate research analysis, best practices and lessons learned, as well as dialogue among peers to foster a rigorous professional learning community.

ADC New Publications

Understanding Holistic Review in Higher Education Admissions: Guiding Principles and Model Illustrationswhich provides insights into the values, logic and rigor behind effective holistic review in higher education admissions. Incorporating key legal principles associated with federal court cases that have challenged the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions, the guide discusses key features and elements of well-designed holistic review policy development and process management—with institutional examples that illustrate effective practice. The guide also calls on the higher education community to think differently about transparency and communications associated with holistic review in admissions.

ADC Webinars

Federal Non-Discrimination Law: Implications for Higher Education Financial Aid and Scholarship Policies and Programs

The ADC hosted a webinar on January 16, 2019. The webinar addressed the issues of federal non-discrimination law relevant to higher education financial aid and scholarship policies and programs. Also, the webinar discussed effective and sustainable financial aid program design, with attention to U.S. Department of Education Title VI policies and OCR case resolutions on the topic. In addition, the webinar provided insight into and offered ideas about strategies and action steps that can help achieve institutional goals, while also mitigating legal risk.

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The 2018 Legal Landscape: Litigation and Agency Actions Regarding Federal Non-Discrimination Law in Higher Education.

The ADC hosted a webinar on December 14th. Presenters reflected on the recent legal landscape and provided insight regarding important actions postsecondary institutions may take to continuously build the necessary evidence base to sustain their diversity efforts. Based on these developments, presenters offered insights into important higher education strategies that can advance mission-based institutional interests in ways that also mitigate legal risk.

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View Presentation

ADC Upcoming Publications

Financial Aid and Scholarships: A Federal Non-discrimination Law Primer. College Board and EducationCounsel will publish a financial aid primer this spring, which will:

  1. Surface key issues that should be considered in the review, evaluation, and evolution of financial aid and scholarship policies and practices to maximize their effectiveness and sustainability;
  2. Synthesize key points of law and policy in a format designed to facilitate meaningful on-the-ground dialogue and action; and
  3. Offer ideas regarding strategies and design models that merit consideration among policy leaders as they seek to achieve institutional goals in legally sustainable ways.

ADC Member Spotlight

  • American Council on Education- On February 15, the American Council on Education published a report titled, "Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report." The report examines multiple indicators as they relate to higher education – both access and attainment – such as race, ethnicity, age, and location.

  • Smith College- On January 30, Smith College announced a series of new inclusion, diversity, and equity initiatives with the intention of reducing the number of bias related incidents on campus. These initiatives focus on three areas: "1) policing policies and training; 2) employee training; and 3) cross-campus education focused on culture change."

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) alleges and Harvard denies that Harvard discriminated against Asian students by stereotyping them; that it engaged in racial balancing (caps) in admissions; and that it failed to establish evidence of need (including adequate pursuit of race-neutral alternatives) that would justify consideration of race in admissions under the Supreme Court's standards for compliance with federal law (Title VI). After a final hearing in the case on February 13, 2019, respecting the parties' proposed findings of fact and law—at which the Court also allowed time for student and organization amici—the case is in Judge Burroughs' hands for decision.

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, U.S. District Court for the North Carolina Middle District.

On January 18, 2019, the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) each filed motions for summary judgment asking the court to rule in their favor based on law and their written filings, rather than going to trial. In these filings, SFFA argues that UNC mechanically considers race as a dominant factor in admissions, applying materially lower standardized test score thresholds to African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans and admitting them at significantly higher rates as compared to Whites and Asians. UNC denies SFFA's claims and argues that it actively engages diversity in specific curricular and co-curricular programs to gain educational benefits grounded in research. UNC asserts it considers race as a "plus" but not as a "dominant" factor in the overall admission program, and does not use racial quotas or set-asides.

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