NACAC Commends Federal Appeals Court Decision Upholding Harvard’s Admission Practices

Shanda Ivory

NACAC Commends Federal Appeals Court Decision Upholding Harvard’s Admission Practices


Arlington, VA (Nov. 12, 2020) – A federal appeals court Thursday upheld the use of race in college admission at Harvard University, a major victory in a case that could be headed to the Supreme Court, according to media reports. 

“Creating a diverse class through holistic admission is good for higher education, good for the student experience, and good for America,” NACAC CEO Angel B. Pérez said today. “I'm delighted to learn the court agreed to uphold Harvard's process. We need to continue to fight to open the doors wider for underrepresented students in higher education, and a legal decision like this brings us a step closer.”

The appeals court panel ruled 2-0 that Harvard did not violate federal civil rights law by considering race and ethnicity as factors in the admission process. A federal district judge issued the same ruling last fall.

NACAC applauded the district court ruling then, saying "the court recognized that despite the difficulty inherent in crafting race-conscious admission policies, the importance of preserving an institution’s ability to consider disparities between racial and ethnic groups remains a compelling interest. As we examine the systemic inequities in college access, we cannot afford to further restrict colleges' ability to identify talent in the context of significant disparities between students."


The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of nearly 14,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education.


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