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Supreme Court Looks To Halt Affirmative Action In College, Student Loan Forgiveness


Supreme Court

Later this year, the Supreme Court is expected to overturn affirmative action in college admission after the arguments from Harvard University and the University of North Carolina on whether race-conscious admission programs are lawful.


This comes on the heels of the decision to overturn Roe. V. Wade, according to epi.org.


Additionally, the Supreme Court in February heard arguments over President Biden’s student loan debt relief plan, which would have forgiven at least $10,000, and up to $20,000, for tens of millions of federal student loan borrowers. The plan was voted upon but in a surprise bipartisan move, the Senate voted to overturn the President’s signature student loan forgiveness program, set to cost $400 billion, according to The Hill.


Both affirmative action and student loan debt forgiveness are essential measures for college access and completion for students of color. But these statutes, along with others, have been targeted and threatened within the courts over the years, leaving students of color to take on the barriers of higher education as well as more disparate socioeconomic outcomes.


Over the last half-century, the United States has been removed from the critical Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregation. But that didn’t stop the most important topic of dispute: the legality of universities using affirmative action as a tool for broader integration and diversity in school, according to epi.org.


In 1978, the Supreme Court upheld the use of race as a reason for choosing qualified applicants for admission in the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke ruling. In the following decades, public and private universities used race and ethnicity as a determining factor in admissions processes, although there were efforts to roll back race-conscious admissions programs on the state level.


Back in 1996, California was the first state to ax affirmative action in public universities for college admissions. Now, seven more states -- Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington -- banned public universities from considering race in admissions. And research has proven that college enrollment for racial and ethnic groups has decreased at selective universities and graduate programs after these bans.


One study estimated that students of color experience a 23% decline in the chances of admission to highly selective public universities after an affirmative action ban.


There are many positives in considering race in college admissions. For one, American society continues to suffer from racial inequality. Having affirmative action allows more equitable opportunities for top-notch college education, according to The Washington Post. Affirmative action benefits all students by exposing these students to diverse perspectives on campus and it can lead to more diverse leadership.


Student loan forgiveness is also necessary as 48% of Black students owe an average of 12.5% more than they borrowed, while 83% of white students owe 12% less than they borrowed.


Black women hold nearly two-thirds of the 7% trillion in student debt, according to epi.org.


Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com

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