Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

College Applications to Include New Multi-Racial Box

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

College Applications to Include New Multi-Racial Box

Article excerpt

In a nod to America's growing multiracial population, the U.S. Department of Education has endorsed a new system that would allow students to pick more than one "race" box on college applications--and in doing so has unleashed new questions that could have serious policy ramifications.

After nine years of work, the Education Department released draft guidelines last month intended to help colleges collect and report information on race and ethnicity, and have asked colleges to send feedback. The colleges, which have long struggled with how to classify mixed-race students, overwhelmingly welcomed the guidelines.

"I expect colleges to be pleased because the guidelines certainly are appropriate, reasonable and do limit the burden on categorizing," says Dr. Eugene L. Anderson, associate director of national initiatives at the American Council on Education. "They make sense. They respect peoples' individual notion of racial identity, which is important."

The new system would allow students who identify themselves by more than one race to check more than one box. Those students will be reported as "multiracial," and the Department of Education will not require colleges to detail their racial combination, as the U.S. Census does.

The group "Asian and Pacific Islander" will be separated into two categories. Hispanic and Latin students will be asked to first identify themselves as Hispanic or Latin, and then given the opportunity to check a second box specifying whether they are Black, Caucasian or other. …

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