Skip to content

Pew: Half Of Americans Disapprove Of College Admissions Based On Race

The Pew Research Center releases data from two surveys before Supreme Court decisions on 2 affirmative action cases.

Ahead of Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the Pew Research Center released data from two surveys.

Guests watch the 372nd Commencement at Harvard University. Harvard granted degrees to 9,110 graduates. Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Just 33% of U.S. adults support selective colleges and universities considering race and ethnic background in admissions decisions, while half disapprove and 16% are unsure, per the first survey.

Many more Republicans and independents who lean Republican (74%) oppose these sorts of admission decisions, while 54% of Democrats and those who lean Democrat, approve.

The second survey—this one focused on Asian-American adults—found that 53% of Asian adults who have heard of affirmative action view it positively, although 76% said that colleges should not factor race or ethnicity into admissions.

A student studies outside the closed Wilson Library on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on August 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

“Overall, majorities of Asian adults across gender, age, education and origin groups say race or ethnicity should not factor into college admissions,” according to Pew.

An overwhelming majority said that grades (87%), standardized test scores and community service (71%) should factor into admissions. Much fewer (33%) thought that athletic ability should be part of the admissions calculus, and an even smaller group (10%) supported family connections (“legacies”).

For more information on the upcoming court cases, visit The Supreme Court of the United States blog, where detailed records are kept from both the Harvard and University of North Carolina complaints. Harvard has even gone so far as to compile data and summaries about the lawsuit on their own website. They maintain that having racial quotas as part of their admissions process ensures that the student body will remain diverse and better represent the extraordinary pool of applicants they receive each year. 


Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate

Edited by Jessi Rexroad Shull and Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners