As the body of research on issues related to access and diversity in higher education grows, it’s important to develop new polices and reevaluate existing ones to ensure they remain ethical and effective.
This page features the latest access- and diversity-related news and events to keep you up to date on the latest developments in the field.
2019 Higher Ed Colloquium
January 12-14, 2019. Delray Beach, FL.
2019 Regional Forums.
- New England Regional Forum, January 29-30, 2019. Boston, MA
- Middle States Regional Forum, February 6-7 2019. Baltimore, MD
- Midwestern Regional Forum, February 10-11, 2019. Cleveland, OH
- South Meets Southwest Regional Forum, February 13-15. San Antonio, TX
- Western Regional Forum, February 21-22, 2019. Newport Beach, CA
ADC Upcoming Publications
- Holistic Review Guide. This guide combines thought leadership and examples from the field, and a report on key takeaways and forward looking action arising from the Bakke 40th Anniversary Convening on August 1.
- Financial Aid Guide. This guide addresses an area of importance for good policy and legal practice in the current campus, federal, and societal environment.
ADC Member Spotlight
- The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). On September 13, 2018, UT Austin announced that the Texas Advance Commitment, which launched last spring, would be available not only to new students, but also to all eligible current undergraduate students. This program expanded the University’s financial aid program to increase support for students from families with incomes of up to $100,000 who have financial need by guaranteeing financial aid support. The program also ensures students from families with incomes of up to $30,000 enough financial aid to, at a minimum, cover full tuition costs. The press release is here.
- Rice University. On September 18, 2018, Rice University announced “The Rice Investment.” This new plan is built on the idea that “talent deserves opportunity” and aims to increase the affordability of higher education by significantly expanding its undergraduate financial aid program to support more students from low-income and middle-income households. Through this plan, the University will provide grant aid that covers full tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board for all students with family incomes below $65,000. Students who are eligible for need-based aid and whose families make between $65,000 and $135,000 will receive full tuition scholarships. Finally, for students with family incomes between $130,000 and $200,000, the University will provide scholarships that cover at least half of their tuition. The press release is here.
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 failed to satisfy the race neutral alternatives and other evidence of need requirements to justify consideration of race in admissions under the Supreme Court’s standards for compliance with federal law (Title VI), and that Harvard discriminated against Asian students by stereotyping them. (See the newsletter sent on July 30, 2018 for a fuller summary.) The trial of the case in federal trial court is scheduled to start on October 15, 2018. On September 28th, the trial judge denied both parties’ June 2018 motions requesting a decision based on law, without a trial, ruling that a trial is needed to resolve complex disputed facts and differing analyses by opposing data experts. While courts may surprise the parties with a prompt decision, it could take months for the case to be decided at the trial level; the judge (not a jury) is going to decide the facts and apply the law at trial. Once the trial court decides a case, there is generally a 30-day period to file an appeal with the first level federal appeals court, based on claimed error(s) of law; that court may take many months to decide an appeal. There is then a 90-day period (subject to exceptions) during which requests for “certiorari” may be filed, requesting the Supreme Court to take the case, which it may grant or deny.
Additionally, on August 30, 2018 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a “Statement of Interest” in support of SFFA. The DOJ filing argues Harvard “has failed to show that it does not unlawfully discriminate against Asian Americans” and has not satisfied the requirements for consideration of race in admissions under current Supreme Court decisions. The filing says “no American should be denied admission to school because of their race,” but does not assert that current Supreme Court decisions should be reversed. A press release is here. The Statement of Interest is here.
Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, U.S. District Court for the North Carolina Middle District.
Limited remaining pre-trial fact discovery must be completed by December 19, 2018. Any motions of the parties for “summary judgement,” requesting the Court to decide the case under applicable law without a trial based on facts established in discovery, are due January 18, 2019. A trial date has not yet been set. It is anticipated that the trial date will likely be set in the first half of 2019. On August 10, 2018, The News & Observer, of North Carolina, reported that UNC has spent $16.8 million thus far in expenses mainly for lawyers and data experts on the suit. The article is here.
Department of Justice Forum on Free Speech
On September 17, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke during the Department of Justice (DOJ) forum on Free Speech in Higher Education, describing freedom of speech and expression as being “under attack on the college campus;” DOJ is supporting the First Amendment in statements of interest it is filing in court cases. The Attorney General’s remarks are here.
Redesigning State Financial Aid
Released on August 14, 2018, the Education Commission of the States report, “Redesigning State Financial Aid: Principles to Guide State Aid Policymaking,” suggested that state financial aid programs be redesigned to be student-centered; goal driven and data-informed; timely and flexible; and broadly inclusive of all students’ educational pathways. The report is here.