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Enrollment expert weighs in on President Trump’s college admissions guideline change

FOX 17 News

President Trump's administration announced Tuesday it plans to get rid of Obama-era policies promoting racial diversity in college admissions.

The shift gives schools and universities the federal government’s blessing to take a race-neutral approach to the admissions process. It rescinds guidelines set in place during Obama’s presidency that encouraged schools to take a person’s race into account to promote campus diversity.

"There are a lot of institutions across the country, that this isn't a big factor,” Lipscomb University Vice President of Enrollment Byron Lewis said. “But for a lot of highly-selective and selective institutions, it is something that is certainly used as a tool, one of many, to be able to promote diversity on campus."

Lewis said while race is not a determining admissions factor at his school, diversity is still very important.

“So for campus diversity, I think it is very important for students in terms of how they learn, how they are going to eventually be in a global marketplace,” Lewis said.

Lewis said nearly 25% of Lipscomb students come from underrepresented populations. He said he does not expect the new guidelines to diminish the importance of campus diversity.

"It's certainly something to keep an eye on, but immediately, no, I don't think there's a concern yet, because these are just guidelines,” Lewis said.

Still, some students said they do not see a need to change the current guidelines.

"So if there is a president of a school and they want more diversity, they should be allowed to focus on that, as well as focusing on all types of students no matter what race,” Lipscomb University student McKenzie Allen said.

"The affirmative action that is taking place when they admit more students of color because they're trying to get their diversity up actually helps everyone as a whole for sure, so I don't know if being race-blind in the admissions process is a good thing,” Lipscomb University student Bailey Shafer said.

Still, according to a report by CNN, Tuesday’s reversal does not affect what a school decides to do on its own within the confines of current Supreme Court precedent.

The decision does not change current law on affirmative action, but it comes as the Justice Department looks into whether Harvard discriminated against Asian-American students during their admissions process.

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