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Harvard admits fewer Latino and black students, while the number of Asians reaches a record


The new admissions data comes as the Supreme Court continues to consider a lawsuit against Harvard that may decide the future of affirmative action at universities.

By Sakshi Venkatraman -

NBC News

Harvard University admitted a record number of Asian students for the 2027 academic year, a fact that experts have been careful to celebrate given the decline in admissions from most other minority groups.

[Affirmative action in universities may have its days numbered]

That comes as the Supreme Court continues deliberations in a lawsuit against Harvard brought by a right-wing group alleging that

race-based admissions discriminates against white and Asian students.

In a detailed report on the 2027 school year released by the university last week, Harvard revealed that 29.9% of admitted students are Asian-American.

This constitutes a 2.1% increase compared to last year's figure.

Ishika Vyas, 18, a student at Harvard University, speaks out for diversity in front of the United States Supreme Court on October 31, 2022.Getty Images

"It's been part of a long-standing trend," William R. Fitzsimmons, provost for admissions, told The Harvard Crimson.

"The percentages have been increasing steadily. It's not a surprise."

There are a number of possible reasons for this, said Julie Park, an associate professor at the University of Maryland who studies racial equality in college education.

One of them could be the increase in "legacy admissions" for Asian-Americans, which favor the children of Harvard graduates.

It also coincides with the rise in the population of Asian American youth and high school graduates in the United States in general.

[Why teaching about diversity in schools will be a big battle this year]

"Admissions based on race can be very dynamic and depending on institutions," he told NBC News.

"Under race-based admissions, Harvard has a large number of Asian-American students (...) It's just a natural byproduct that you're going to have in terms of numbers at Harvard, unless they turn their backs on race." legacy admissions, which I think they should do.

Harvard did not respond to multiple requests for comment from NBC News.

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The Supreme Court is working on a decision on Students for Fair Admissions v.

Harvard (Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard)

, the lawsuit alleging that race-based admissions at that

ivy league

school (a term for eight Northeastern schools known for their academic excellence) discriminates against students Asian applicants.

After the court heard the case in October, activists fear that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court could mean the end of the so-called affirmative action (understood as measures aimed at favoring individuals or groups with the aim of eliminating or reducing inequalities). gender, cultural or economic).

[Much of US Latinos do not identify with the Census Bureau's racial categories]

Students of color at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, which is also being sued by Students for Fair Admissions, have been protesting and speaking out in favor of admissions based on race for months.

Losing that battle could put low-income Asian-American and Pacific Islander applicants at a disadvantage, Park said, as well as affect students' diverse educational experience.

Students walk past the Widner Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.AP

"We know, based on the studies, that low-income Asian-American students are given a boost by these policies," he said. "They [universities] pay attention not only to race, but also to ethnicity, to subgroups that have been historically underserved in education, such as Southeast Asian Americans and the Pacific Islander community.

What worries the experts is that, for the second consecutive year at Harvard, the admission of blacks and Latinos has decreased, and represents 15.3% and 11.3%, respectively.

Native Hawaiian and Native American admissions are also down compared to last year (now 0.5% and 2%, respectively).

"While you've seen an increase in the population of Asian-American high school graduates, that's nothing compared to the growth of that Latinx (Latinos and Latinas) population," he said.

"It's actually quite troubling and illuminating that we're not seeing a similar increase in the number of black and Latinx students being admitted [...] That disparity points to some problems."

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Without a clear dissection of applicant data, it's hard to know why this is happening, said Wil Del Pilar, vice president of The Education Trust, an organization that works against inequality in education.

But threats against affirmative action have had a chilling effect not only on applications from students of color

but on college outreach efforts as well.

"It can have a very detrimental effect on students and the services that are provided to them," he said.

"When you put together all the anti-diversity, equality and inclusion legislation and anti-critical race theory measures that are being passed at the state level, I think it sets the stage for it to have a big impact on enrollment."

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Even ongoing lawsuits and proposed legislation can have a regressive effect, with institutions taking money away from diversity efforts, recruiting, or the structures to support them.

[US college tuition fell 8% between 2019 and 2022 due to costs]

"The decision may be that you can't use race as a factor in admission," he said.

"Then institutional actors can say, 'Okay, you can't use race as a factor in awarding financial aid, creating student support groups, enrolling, or targeting efforts.' ".

Park also cited the university's high costs and its emphasis on enrolling athletes, something she says tends to favor white students.

"They [universities] have these policies that try to facilitate equality, but they also have policies that undermine equality," he added.

"I think they have to take an honest look in the mirror."

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-04-05

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