Feb 27, 2023 - News

SCOTUS affirmative action ruling could change OSU admissions

Photo: Courtesy of Ohio State University

Ohio State University and other colleges may have to reevaluate longstanding hallmarks of the admissions process in a world without affirmative action, Axios' Erin Doherty writes.

Why it matters: The university is seeking to shape its enrollment to reflect the demographics of the city and state, outgoing president Kristina M. Johnson has said.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year that schools can't explicitly consider student applicants' race when making admissions decisions.

State of play: According to OSU's admissions page, the main campus primarily considers high school performance and standardized test scores when reviewing applicants.

  • But OSU also considers non-academic factors, including the "ability and desire to contribute to and engage with a diverse campus community."

By the numbers: Black student enrollment at the main campus stands at 7.4% this semester, per university data, a slight decrease from the previous spring.

  • Black residents make up 29% of Columbus and 13% of Ohio.

What they're saying: The university is not openly speculating on possible legal changes, spokesperson Ben Johnson tells Axios.

  • "We will of course continue to follow all state and federal laws regarding admissions."

Flashback: OSU has had to review its admissions policy numerous times over the past 25 years amid earlier Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action.

Zoom in: The pending court decision may even impact campuses like Otterbein University that do not consider race when admitting students.

  • Jefferson Blackburn-Smith, vice president of enrollment management, told the campus newspaper last year a future ruling could affect other areas of targeted diversity outreach like student support services and financial aid programs.

Meanwhile, Columbus entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy has made eliminating federal affirmative action policies a key plank in his new presidential campaign.


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