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The Implications of the Supreme Court’s Recent Rulings on Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court recently ruled against affirmative action, which is considered a massive blow to minority students looking to apply to college. It took decades of efforts to finally boost the enrollment of minority students in American universities and we’re now starting from scratch again.

"In terms of ensuring access to higher education and income opportunities, the barriers are already so high," said Cara McClellan, director of the Advocacy for Racial and Civil Justice Clinic and practice associate professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

This is the first year that American universities will be accepting applications without race being considered a factor. While this may seem like a step towards equality and justice, it isn’t when the race in question is a minority one. Minorities will no longer be given the extra push to apply. 

Rise in College Applications

As of January 2024, the volume of college applications rose by 9% compared to the previous year, according to the latest report by the Common Application. This means that more students are applying than ever before, with a significant rise in applications from people of color as well.

"It's possible the numbers may not be as stark as people think," Cook said of how this year's changes will be reflected in next year's freshman class. "What may mitigate the decline is schools trying to work around this." Advocates have also revealed that it would be significantly harder to maintain ethnic diversity, considering that minorities will no longer be given special priority in admissions.

"Some institutions, in the face of the Supreme Court's decision, which has created a lot of uncertainty, are being incredibly thoughtful in how they can achieve their mission. But it requires real commitment," McClellan said. As a result, the decision is not being received very well. 

The Financial Aid Concern

For many families in the US, the price tag is an important factor to consider when deciding on a college. Several students apply for financial aid, and if they don’t get it, they can’t go to college. 

However, financial aid awards have been delayed this year due to the roll out of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. As a result, high school students are even more pressured to decide on colleges without even knowing the status of their financial aid application.

The cost of getting an undergraduate degree today has greatly crossed the general cost of living in the past few decades. This has led to a significant increase in student loan debt, according to Wells Fargo. College students are looking closely at the return on investment. They no longer feel it is worth spending countless dollars on a degree that they’re going to end up trying to pay off forever. 

Author Bio

Alyaziah Hayat is a 23-year-old journalist covering history, finance, crime, and pop culture news and events. She has an eye for detail and is always looking for the next big story. Looking to work with her? Reach out here!

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