Gallup Analysis: 'Americans Do Not Like … Using Race and Ethnicity as a Factor in College Admissions'

( — In a new analysis of several polls, Gallup concludes that while Americans support the idea of diversity on college campuses, they “do not like the idea of colleges using race and ethnicity as a factor in decisions on college admissions.”

The pro-diversity claim is that a student body filled with people of myriad backrounds — racially, ethnically, economically, religiously — enriches the higher education experience and produces stronger leaders. And while Americans in general support that goal, they do not support using race as a factor.

For instance, Gallup reported, “In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, for example, 58% of respondents supported programs whose goal is to increase the racial diversity of students on college campuses. But in the same poll, 62% said race and ethnicity should not be considered at all in college admissions.”

A Washington Post/Schar School poll showed strong support for diversity. However, it also found that nearly 64% of Americans back the Supreme Court’s “banning colleges and universities from considering a student’s race and ethnicity when making decisions about student admissions.”

Also, “Gallup polling in 2016 showed that less than 10% of Americans said race or gender should be ‘major factors’ in college admissions decisions. By contrast, 73% said high school grades should be a major factor and 55% said the same about standardized test scores.”


A Pew Research survey from 2022 found that 74% of Americans “said race or ethnicity should not be a factor in college admissions, and 82% said the same about gender.”

A 2022 survey by Selzer Research for Grinnell College discovered that 68% of Americans said colleges “should” not be able to take a person’s race into account when deciding on college admission. 

Even in California, in 2020, “57% of voters there “rejected a proposal to repeal an earlier ban on the use of race in admissions to public universities in that state.”

On a related topic, Gallup also discovered “that Americans recognize the lasting negative impact of the nation’s history of slavery on Black Americans today,” but Americans are opposed to the idea of cash reparations to compensate for those practices.”

The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the use of race in college admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina in early June. 


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