The Russell Sage, Hewlett, Spencer, and William T. Grant Foundations are pleased to announce the launch of a new joint research initiative on promoting educational attainment and economic mobility among racially, ethnically, and economically diverse groups after the 2023 Supreme Court decision to ban race-conscious admissions at colleges and universities. The Court ruled that the use of race-conscious admissions policies violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and was therefore unconstitutional. The decision is likely to generate experimentation with a range of methods to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and the educational attainment and economic mobility of underrepresented and lower-income groups. It may also have effects on employment and promotions decisions even though the ruling did not address them. The initiative is especially interested in proposals that will advance social science research on the social, political, and economic effects of the Supreme Court decision and the future of race-conscious policies more generally.
Jennifer Lee, chair of the RSF Board of Trustees, said of the special initiative: "At a time when polarizing discourse is driving narratives, the Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to partner with the Hewlett, Spencer, and William T. Grant Foundations to support evidenced-based research on the effects of the SCOTUS decision to end decades of race-conscious admissions policies in colleges and universities."
Adam Gamoran, president of the William T. Grant Foundation, said of the new special initiative: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end race-based affirmative action in college admissions was not unexpected, but it was disappointing, because it eliminated an important tool that had helped to reduce racial inequality at some of the country’s elite colleges. Now more than ever, we need research to identify alternatives that can promote educational and occupational success among diverse groups as well or better than affirmative action, and I am so pleased to be supporting this effort along with our foundation partners.”