Statement from The Education Trust on Supreme Court’s Fisher v. University of Texas Decision
WASHINGTON (June 24, 2013) The Supreme Courts decision today in Fisher v. University of Texas reaffirmed the bedrock constitutional principle that universities have a compelling interest in considering racial and ethnic diversity as one factor in developing a carefully crafted admissions policy. Although the Court found that the Fifth Circuit applied the wrong standard, it did not question the compelling nature of diversity as a factor in admissions. Even when you control for income and other advantages, students of color are still admitted to college at lower rates than their white peers. Colleges and universities need tools to address this inequity, and todays decision ensures those tools remain available.
Even today, when a college degree is nearly indispensable for a family supporting wage, students of color are less likely to go to college and, when they do, less likely to attend the high quality institutions from which they are most likely to graduate and master the skills they need to take on leadership roles. The Supreme Courts recognition of the importance of equal opportunity in higher education leaves the door open for universities to adopt policies that further educational and social equity. The Court made clear that universities may consider racial and ethnic diversity as one factor in enrolling a class of well-qualified students. We look to the Fifth Circuit, as it reconsiders this case, to uphold these principles.