Story at a glance:

  • A survey found that 34 percent of white students who applied to colleges falsely claimed they were a racial minority on their application.
  • Most students, 48 percent, claimed to be Native American on their application.
  • Seventy-seven percent of white applicants who lied about their race on their application were accepted to those colleges.

 A survey from Intelligent found that 34 percent of white students who applied to colleges and universities falsely claimed they were a racial minority on their application. 

The publication found that 81 percent of students who faked minority status did so to improve their chances of getting accepted. Fifty percent of students who lied said they did it to get minority-focused financial aid. 


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Most students, 48 percent, claimed to be Native American on their application. Thirteen percent falsely marked that they were Latino, while 10 percent falsely claimed to be Black. Nine percent of those surveyed lied that they were Asian or Pacific Islander. 

For the most part, Intelligent found, these white students tended to get away with their lies. About 3 in 4, or 77 percent, of white applicants who faked minority status on their applications were accepted to those colleges.

“While other factors may have played a role in their acceptance, the majority of applicants who lied and were accepted (85%) believe that falsifying their racial minority status helped them secure admission to college,” Intelligent wrote in their report. 

Among those willing to fake their minority status, 48 percent of white male applicants lied about their race, while 16 percent of white female applicants did so. 

"Twice as many men as women claimed Native American heritage on their applications (54 percent compared to 24 percent). Meanwhile, one in four women (24%) claimed to be Latino. Women are also more than twice as likely as men to pretend to be Black (18% compared to 8%)" Intelligent wrote.

The publication surveyed 1,250 white Americans who had previously applied to college. The survey was conducted on July 13. 


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Published on Oct 21, 2021