June 29, 2023
To the Yale College community,
As you may know, today the Supreme Court issued a decision regarding the ability of colleges and universities to consider race in their admissions policies. We share President Salovey’s concern about the decision. Despite our concerns, as President Salovey indicates in his message [https://president.yale.edu/supreme-court-decisions-regarding-admissions-higher-education], Yale will ensure that all its admissions processes comply with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law.
Yale College seeks, celebrates and draws strength from the diversity of its student body, and from that diversity emerges excellence. As we comply with the law, we want to make it clear to the entire community that we will also continue our efforts to make Yale College a leader in welcoming and educating students from all backgrounds.
Today’s rulings will not change our commitment to consider each applicant as a multi-faceted individual. Yale’s whole-person review process is one of the College’s great strengths and has yielded student and alumni bodies that reflect the enormous depth and breadth of humanity. This approach enables admissions officers to consider the many factors that shape each applicant’s candidacy, and for decades it has helped the admissions committee select students who will make the most of a Yale education while making significant contributions to the Yale community.
Whole-person review has also helped make Yale more accessible. Today, the number of students who are eligible for the Pell Grant, a federal grant awarded to undergraduates with exceptional financial need, is nearly twice as high as it was a decade ago, and the numbers of undergraduates who identify as people of color, and those who will be the first in their families to attend college, have both increased by more than 60 percent over the past ten years.
As we begin considering Yale College’s response to today’s rulings, our top priorities are ensuring that Yale continues to enroll promising students of all backgrounds and that we strengthen our longstanding support for our diverse community.
Over the summer we will closely examine all the elements of our admissions process under the new legal framework and consider new programs and initiatives. We are focusing on the following areas:
- The admissions office will expand its outreach programming to encourage students in under-resourced school districts and historically marginalized communities to apply to Yale.
- The admissions office will explore new ways to support pipeline programs that promote college preparation for students from low-income, underrepresented, and rural communities.
- We will continue to invest in Yale College’s extraordinary need-based financial aid program and advance our mission of making a Yale undergraduate education affordable to everyone. Our recent policy initiatives and enhancements have made Yale’s aid program one of the most comprehensive in the country.
- Yale College will continue to support our four cultural centers: the Afro American Cultural Center, La Casa Cultural, the Asian American Cultural Center, and the Native American Cultural Center. These centers are pillars of strength for the Yale and broader New Haven communities. We will work with them on expanded programming to uplift the interests, cultures, and experiences of racially-minoritized communities and promote belonging throughout the student body.
- Finally, the Yale College Dean’s Office will establish a new Office of Educational Opportunity. In collaboration with the Poorvu Center on Teaching and Learning, it will promote educational equity and ensure that all undergraduates have widespread and ready access to Yale’s educational, advising, and co-curricular opportunities.
This is a moment for us to recall these words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Because Yale’s history is so closely entwined with that of our nation, we pledge to seek renewed opportunities to deliver on that promise.
Dean of Yale College
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid