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We have expanded this publication to include additional information concerning race-neutral alternatives for K-12, graduate and professional programs, and private colleges and universities. We recognize, however, that additional research is required in these areas and we expect that subsequent reports will elaborate on them. This publication does not endorse any particular program discussed in these pages. Rather, the approaches highlighted should stimulate educators' creativity in creating race-neutral programs that best meet their particular needs. We hope that this publication will help guide educational institutions in developing innovative race-neutral programs for achieving diversity.


Executive Summary

Race-neutral programs can be divided into two categories: "Developmental approaches" are designed to diversify student enrollments by enriching the pipeline of applicants equipped to meet entry requirements and achieve academic success. "Admissions approaches" are designed to diversify student enrollments through admissions policies and procedures.

Developmental Approaches

Even a selective list of developmental approaches will demonstrate the wide range of efforts that can be undertaken to enrich the pipeline of applicants prepared to succeed in any academic setting: accountability systems, teacher education, science-based reading practices, Advanced Placement (AP) initiatives, curriculum enrichment, recruitment and outreach, targeted financial aid, virtual schools, coordination with community colleges, partnerships between universities and low-performing schools and partnerships between the College Board and educational institutions.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) has numerous provisions that may be characterized as developmental approaches, e.g., accountability systems and high standards, annual academic assessment, highly qualified teachers, scientifically based research practices and consequences for schools that fail to educate disadvantaged students.

Recruitment and outreach efforts target underserved student populations. For example, Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Austin have established recruitment centers in historically underserved areas. States like Florida and Kentucky are providing virtual curricula and encouraging the expansion of AP courses to enrich high school education. Targeted financial aid supports qualified low-income and first generation students in Texas, Florida, Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina.

Partnerships between postsecondary institutions and nearby public schools facilitate mentoring and preparation of students for higher education in California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Vermont and other states. Partnerships between the College Board and various school districts in Washington, Delaware and Maryland are encouraging students to take AP courses and preparing them for Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) and Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) examinations. Coordination between community colleges and traditional research institutions encourages students to overcome prior educational disadvantage and transfer into research institutions in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and other states. Nonprofits, charitable foundations and for-profit corporations are likewise providing and facilitating effective race-neutral programs.

The federal government sponsors numerous programs including GEAR UP, TRIO and the States Scholars Initiative, designed to help young people of all races excel in college.  Educational institutions in Washington, California and other states participate in these programs and use them as models for their own race-neutral efforts. The Department also provides race-neutral financial assistance in the form of grants such as the Pell Grant and loans that are available to qualified students.

Graduate and professional schools are creating race-neutral programs to target promising undergraduate students, including the Doctor's Academy at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Law Fellows Program and the Texas A&M Medical School Partnership for Primary Care. Private colleges and universities have also developed effective pipeline programs. For example, Occidental College in Los Angeles operates a wide range of partnership programs with local schools in northeast Los Angeles, serving more than 900 students at 16 elementary, middle and high schools as part of its outreach to local communities.

Admissions Approaches

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