Press Release

CGS Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Decision Limiting Race-Conscious Admissions Policies

Kelley KarnesIssued: 06-29-23

CGS Contact: Kelley Karnes
602-791-8278 /

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Harvard College and University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill’s use of race-conscious admissions policies violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Although more analysis is needed to understand all the implications of the decisions for higher education policies and practices, the decisions do not affect an institution’s ability to embrace educational equity as core to its educational mission and societal role.

In the majority’s opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts suggests that an applicant’s life experiences may be considered in the application process:

“At the same time, nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university,” Roberts wrote.

In the coming months, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) will support its 460 U.S-based member universities as they work to understand the implications of the decisions for graduate admissions and other programs. CGS’s membership is broad and diverse, representing both public and private institutions across the United States. We know that our members are prepared to comply with the law: they will consult with their General Counsels, closely consider their institutional missions and continue serving the diverse communities that comprise their states, regions and beyond.

As we look ahead, CGS will continue to affirm the principles outlined in our statement on diversity. Diversity, equity, access and inclusion are critical to the quality of graduate education, preparing graduate students to learn from one another and to work in diverse teams.

The stakes are high: for the U.S. workforce to grow and thrive, we will need K-12 teachers, healthcare professionals, school counselors and therapists, scientific researchers and engineers, social workers, experts in public safety and cybersecurity, and other professionals who understand and can meet the pressing challenges that our country is facing. Now more than ever, the graduate education community remains committed to preserving and advancing the inclusive excellence of higher education and the innovations produced by the U.S. scholarly enterprise.

Suzanne T. Ortega, President

Council of Graduate Schools


About CGS

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.