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.
ADC New Publications
Harvard District Court Analysis
This expanded decision analysis of the US District Court's September 30, 2019 decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard provides a detailed analysis of the court's decision on all key substantive issues.
The Playbook: Understanding the Role of Race Neutral Strategies in Advancing Higher Education Diversity, 2nd Edition
This practical guide provides an overview of race-and ethnicity-neutral strategies and “plays” that can advance institutional diversity interests.
Financial Aid and Scholarships: A Federal Non-discrimination Law Primer.
College Board and EducationCounsel recently published a primer that Surfaces key issues that should be considered in the review, evaluation, and evolution of financial aid and scholarship policies, synthesizes key points of law and policy, and offers ideas regarding strategies and design models that merit consideration among policy leaders.
Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard: Understanding What the Court Said and What It Means for Higher Education
This webinar outlines issues relevant to the federal court's September 30, 2019 decision in Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard. This webinar unpacks that decision, with a focus on key findings and lessons for other postsecondary institutions to consider as they develop and refine diversity-related policies and practices.
Understanding the Role of Race Neutral Strategies in Advancing Higher Education Diversity Goals
The ADC hosted a webinar on race neutral strategies, including those featured in The Playbook (2d. Edition). Overall, the key themes discussed include expanding awareness of the range of effective strategies for increasing diversity, the need to consider both intent and effect when deciding if a strategy is actually race-conscious or neutral and the imperative of periodic review of policies that consider race in some aspect of the enrollment process for all IHEs.
Federal Non-Discrimination Law: Implications for Higher Education Financial Aid and Scholarship Policies and Programs
The webinar addressed the issues of federal non-discrimination law relevant to higher education financial aid and scholarship policies and programs. 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.
ADC Member Spotlight
On November 7, the American Council on Education (ACE) published a report titled "Achieving Diversity at the Intersection of STEM Culture and Campus Climate", which discusses the role campus climate has in ensuring success of diversity efforts in STEM. The report also provides recommendations for institutions looking to address campus culture issues including: Develop holistic initiatives that center on the unique needs and challenges facing minority students.
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 argued that UNC mechanically considers race as a dominant factor in admissions; acts in a manner that indicates a lack of sincere interest in the educational benefits of diversity; and fails to use race neutral alternatives that UNC admitted in its Fisher amicus brief are workable, rendering UNC's consideration of race unnecessary. UNC denies SFFA's claims and argues that it actively engages diversity to gain research-based educational benefits for students; has a rigorous, high-quality admission program in which readers are unaware of the racial composition of the class; and over a 10-year period, two committees and the Admissions Office considered many neutral alternatives and has been unable to find any neutral alternative that would provide the same diversity and academic quality as the current model. (See the January 2019 newsletter for more detail.) As in the Harvard case, SFFA and UNC present experts with conflicting findings.
On September 30, 2019, the federal district court issued an order denying summary judgment to both parties. In this order, three issues were discussed:
- the sufficiency of UNC's articulation of goals/objectives and definition of critical mass;
- whether race is a "plus" or "dominant" factor in admissions; and
- whether UNC pursued all workable race-neutral alternatives.
In discussion on the sufficiency of UNC's articulation of goals/objectives and definition of critical mass, the judge recognized UNC's compelling interest in diversity, but did not grant summary judgment on that issue. The judge concluded that each of the remaining issues presented questions of fact appropriate for trial. The trial of the case is scheduled for June 8, 2020.
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