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Ending College Affirmative Action Could Have Ripple Effect for Black, Latino Students

As affirmative action programs face their biggest threat in decades, experts say Black and Latino students would experience fewer job and financial opportunities.

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina
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Experts say that Black and Latino students would suffer disproportionately if the Supreme Court decides to reverse a long-standing policy on affirmative action programs in the U.S.

On Monday, the Supreme Court said it would hear challenges to the consideration of race in college admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. If the court rules against race-conscious admissions programs, also known as affirmative action, it could have an outsize effect on Black and Latino college students. 

One of the most comprehensive studies on the issue, published in 2020, found that Black and Latino students suffered after California’s public universities banned affirmative action in a 1996 ballot initiative. Following the ban, more students of color enrolled at less selective institutions and, as a result, were less likely to get college degrees, graduate degrees or jobs in the STEM fields. 

Zachary Bleemer, the study’s author, told NBC News that these losses were also felt in the labor market. 

“Black and Hispanic young workers ended up with relatively lower-paying jobs in the state over the next, at least, 15 years,” he said. 

Read the full story on NBCNews.com

The Supreme Court has not allowed racial quotas in college admissions, but schools are allowed to consider an applicant's race as a factor alongside other qualities. Now, the court has signaled it could end affirmative action as we know it. That could require new ways of thinking about diversity and inclusion in college admissions, says legal analyst Danny Cevallos.
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