June 29, 2023

AASCU Statement on Supreme Court Decision on the Consideration of Race in College and University Admissions

Kellee Edmonds
(202) 478-4662

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2023) – The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is distressed by today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to prohibit the consideration of race as part of a holistic admissions process at colleges and universities across the country. This ruling goes against the court’s precedent and established practice at college campuses to increase educational opportunity for underrepresented students of color.

“Fifty years since the passage of civil rights legislation has not been nearly enough to address or correct more than 350 years of discriminatory practices intended to keep people of color away from higher education institutions or, starting in the 19th century, severely limit their prospects of increasing their educational attainment,” said AASCU President Mildred García. “Today’s decision will have negative consequences for all Americans and diminish our society’s economic and social development. The civil rights movement inspired the development of this life-altering policy that has supported all students since the late 1960s. We must not lose the important ground that has been gained. We must not revert to an inequitable society.”

Affirmative action policies have played a vital role in increasing diversity and belonging on college campuses. We recognize that their benefits extend to everyone in the academic community as well as preparing today’s students and tomorrow’s labor force to adapt and thrive in an increasingly diverse society. The court’s woefully misguided decision unquestionably hinders higher education’s ability to continue to serve as society’s great equalizer. Without this specific admissions strategy intended to mitigate pervasive inequalities that continue to exist today, like gaps in education attainment by race and ethnicity, students of color will see diminished opportunities and a reduction in degree completion.

AASCU is strongly committed to equity. Regional comprehensive universities are anchored in educational excellence. They are diverse, inclusive institutions, and they will uphold their mission and vision of giving everyone the right to an equitable, high-quality education. The 4.9 million undergraduate students enrolled at these institutions will be engaged citizens, community leaders, and future taxpayers who will lift communities, cities, states, and the country.

We will continue to firmly advocate for policies that provide increased access to underrepresented individuals who seek to improve themselves and their families through higher education. AASCU will also encourage its members and institutional partners across higher education to seek permissible avenues to continue to build a fair, productive, and equitable higher education system.


The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of 350 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise. Visit us at aascu.org.