KIPP Foundation Statement on Supreme Court Ruling Against Affirmative Action

Today’s Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action undercuts one of the few tools available to mitigate the deep inequity in admissions to selective colleges. Affirmative action, which considers the reality of racial inequity as one factor among many in making admissions decisions, enabled a still-too-small number of talented Black and Latinx students to get their foot in the door of selective colleges. The Supreme Court’s decision fails to recognize the structural barriers that block opportunity in higher education for our 120,000 KIPP students, who are overwhelmingly students of color from low-income communities.  

KIPP students navigate an admissions process that structurally favors the wealthy.  Legacy admissions transfer privilege across generations, disfavoring first-generation KIPP students. Preferences for wealthy benefactors self-evidently disfavor the poor.  Expensive test-preparation courses that guarantee gains in SAT and ACT scores are generally beyond the reach of KIPP families.  And early-decision processes undercut the ability of students to compare financial-aid packages, which is imperative for the students we serve.  

The Supreme Court’s decision should be a wake-up call for colleges to reimagine their admissions practices, and open their doors more widely to highly qualified, deserving low-income students.  From eliminating legacy preferences, to expanding class-based preferences, to targeted admissions preferences for talented students in urban and rural communities, colleges should uproot the inequity baked into the admissions process and recreate a model that makes higher education more equitable and accessible.   

– Shavar Jeffries, KIPP Foundation CEO