A coalition of progressive groups penned a letter to the United States Department of Education (DOE) on Wednesday demanding the collection and publication of data about the race of college applicants.
The letter, endorsed by over 30 parties including organizations and individuals, asked the DOE to disaggregate data about college applicants’ race and ethnicity in order to analyze ways to address “disparities in access throughout the admissions pipeline.” It precedes an expected ruling on two Supreme Court cases heard last fall which will determine whether or not universities can use race as a factor during the admissions process. (RELATED: POLL: Support For Supreme Court Increases Ahead Of Affirmative Action Decision)
The requests would revise the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the “primary source for information” on U.S. higher education institutions, to include several new categories of data on applicants, according to the letter. The top request compiles data on “applicants and admits,” which, unlike gender, is not currently tracked.
“Increasing transparency is more than just a path toward greater accountability for institutions of higher education; it is a powerful signal the Biden administration can send to indicate its commitment to diversity and access in postsecondary education,” the letter reads.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina (UNC) and Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard by June 2023. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could hold that affirmative action policies in college admissions are unconstitutional.
“While increasing transparency in college admissions of colleges and universities has always been important, it has become even more necessary in light of the ongoing attacks on policies aimed at advancing racial equity and diversity and the upcoming Supreme Court decision that may ban or narrow the consideration of race in admissions,” the letter reads.
The letter also requests data on the number of legacy applicants, admits and enrollments organized by race, ethnicity, gender and income status “to measure the impact that providing a legacy preference has on access and diversity.” It also requests that the DOE separate data regarding early-action and early-decision applicants according to the same categories.
James Murphy, deputy director of higher education policy at education reform now and lead contact for the letter, and the DOE did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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