A Project of Lumina Foundation and The Century Foundation

As the United States experiences dramatic demographic change—and as our society’s income inequality continues to rise—promoting racial, ethnic, and economic inclusion at selective colleges has become more important than ever. At the same time, however, many Americans—including several members of the U.S. Supreme Court—are uneasy with explicitly using race as a factor in college admissions. The Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas emphasized that universities can use race in admissions only when “necessary,” and that universities bear “the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classifications, that available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice.”

With race-based admission programs increasingly curtailed, The Future of Affirmative Action explores race-neutral approaches as a method of promoting college diversity after Fisher decision. The volume suggests that Fisher might on the one hand be a further challenge to the use of racial criteria in admissions, but on the other presents a new opportunity to tackle, at long last, the burgeoning economic divisions in our system of higher education, and in society as a whole.

Contributions from: Danielle Allen (Princeton); John Brittain (University of the District of Columbia) and Benjamin Landy (MSNBC.com); Nancy Cantor and Peter Englot (Rutgers–Newark); Anthony P. Carnevale , Stephen J. Rose, and Jeff Strohl (Georgetown University); Dalton Conley (New York University); Arthur L. Coleman and Teresa E. Taylor (EducationCounsel LLC); Matthew N. Gaertner (Pearson); Sara Goldrick-Rab (University of Wisconsin–Madison); Scott Greytak (Campinha Bacote LLC); Catharine Hill (Vassar); Richard D. Kahlenberg (The Century Foundation); Richard L. McCormick (Rutgers); Nancy G. McDuff  (University of Georgia); Halley Potter (The Century Foundation); Alexandria Walton Radford (RTI International) and Jessica Howell (College Board); Richard Sander (UCLA School of Law); and Marta Tienda (Princeton).

Please click here to read the full report online, or download individual chapters below:

1—Introduction, by Richard D. Kahlenberg
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2—Defining the Stakes, by Nancy Cantor and Peter Englot
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3—Promoting Economic Diversity for College Affordability, by Sara Goldrick-Rab
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4—Emphasis Added, by Arthur L. Coleman and Teresa E. Taylor
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5—New Rules for Affirmative Action in Higher Education, by Scott Greytak
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6—Transitioning to Race-Neutral Admissions, by Halley Potter
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7—Striving for Neutrality, by Marta Tienda
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8—The Use of Socioeconomic Affirmative Action at the University of California, by Richard Sander
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9—Converging Perils to College Access for Racial Minorities, by Richard L. McCormick
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10—Ensuring Diversity under Race-Neutral Admissions, by Nancy G. McDuff and Halley Potter
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11—Addressing Undermatch, by Alexandria Walton Radford and Jessica Howell
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12—Talent Is Everywhere, by Danielle Allen
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13—Reducing Reliance on Testing to Promote Diversity, by John Brittain and Benjamin Landy
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14—Advancing College Access with Class-Based Affirmative Action, by Matthew N. Gaertner
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15—Achieving Racial and Economic Diversity with Race-Blind Admissions Policy, by Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Jeff Strohl
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16—The Why, What, and How of Class-Based Admissions Policy, by Dalton Conley
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17—A Collective Path Upward, by Richard Sander
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18—Increasing Socioeconomic Diversity in American Higher Education, by Catharine Hill
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