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60 percent of Americans believe race should be left out of college admissions: poll

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: Students protest in support of affirmative action, outside the Supreme Court during the hearing of "Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action" on October 15, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Students protest in support of affirmative action, outside the Supreme Court during the hearing of “Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action” on October 15, 2013 in Washington.

More than 60 percent of Americans believe race should not be a factor in college admissions decisions, but a majority also support programs to increase racial and ethnic diversity on campuses, according to a new poll. 

The poll from The Washington Post and George Mason University’s Schar School of Government found that 63 percent of Americans would support the Supreme Court prohibiting colleges and universities from considering race and ethnicity when making admissions decisions. 

The court is set to hear two cases on affirmative action in admissions at the end of the month. One lawsuit is against Harvard University, a private university, while the other is against the University of North Carolina, a public one. 

The cases have the potential for the court to overturn its past precedent on affirmative action, which had allowed race to be a factor in college admissions as long as other factors are also considered. 

The poll showed at least 60 percent of all racial groups except for Black Americans support the eliminating race from college admission decisions. Black Americans are split on the issue, with 53 percent supporting the consideration of race in admissions and 47 percent opposing it. 

Majorities of all racial groups also support programs to increase racial diversity on college campuses, equaling almost two-thirds of all adults. 

The Post reported that nine states already prohibit the consideration of race in public university admissions, and many public institutions in other states do so as well. 

Pollsters found widespread agreement among participants that students from high-income families have an unfair advantage getting into good colleges, while students from low-income families have an unfair disadvantage. 

Respondents were split on Black and Hispanic students. About 40 percent of those surveyed said these groups have an unfair disadvantage, while slightly more than 40 percent said they have a fair chance. 

More than 60 percent said white and Asian students have a fair chance, while more than a quarter said white students have an unfair advantage.

Tags affirmative action College admissions race-conscious admissions Supreme Court
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