Postsecondary Success Notes | June 2023

Reflections on the Supreme Court’s decision on race-conscious admissions
Postsecondary Success Notes June 2023


Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Students for Fair Admissions Inc v. Harvard and the University of North Carolina effectively prohibited hundreds of public and private postsecondary institutions from considering a student’s race as one factor in the admissions process. 

Our work on the Postsecondary Success team at the Gates Foundation focuses on transforming colleges and universities and advocating for policies to increase student success and make sure that race, ethnicity, and income are not predictors of that success. We do this work because we believe everyone deserves to have life-changing opportunities, including – and especially – education. And the Supreme Court’s decision will impact the students our strategies are designed to serve, specifically Black, Latino, and Indigenous students and students from low-income backgrounds.

We are committed to ensuring equitable postsecondary outcomes for all because a quality college degree benefits students and society. More graduates equal more credentialed employees in the workforce, more money in students and taxpayers’ wallets, an increase in voting rates (41% of all voters who cast ballots in 2022 were four-year college graduates), and a decrease in poverty and the need for public assistance programs

It’s important that the college-going population is representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of our country, and it’s equally as important that the faculty and administrators guiding students on their postsecondary journey reflect the diversity of their students. While the full implications of this decision are not yet known, the impact a ban on race-conscious admissions had in one state may offer some insight into what we can expect now. This ruling comes at a time when conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion are being challenged across the country, and it feels more important than ever to stay steadfast to our values of improving lives and opportunity for those who need it the most and continue working alongside partners and institutions of higher education to promote racial equity in everything we do.  As we continue to understand the implications of this decision on institutions and practices, we stand firmly with our partners in our shared work to ensure all students, and especially those who have faced systemic barriers, have an equal opportunity to access a high-quality education that will lead to a credential of value. 


Patrick Methvin

Patrick Methvin

Director, Postsecondary Success