Majority of Americans oppose the use of affirmative action in college admissions

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Americans largely believe that students should be accepted to college based on their merits, and not their racial or ethnic heritage.

A recent study by Rasmussen Reports found that 60 percent of American adults believe that universities should admit students based on merit and not race. Twenty-seven percent of Americans approve of race as a criteria for college acceptance and 13 percent were unsure.

“Most Americans believe affirmative action admissions policies discriminate against whites, as the lawsuit argues, and think it’s better for colleges and universities to accept the most qualified students,” the release for the report said.

While the 44 percent of Americans polled who oppose affirmative action practices outright certainly aren’t a majority, it is still a higher percentage than the 25 percent of American adults actually agree with institutions applying any sort of discriminatory practices into college admissions and the 34 percent who are simply undecided.

It’s safe to say that affirmative action support is a race-related issue. Sixty-five percent of African-Americans favor affirmative action, according to the Rasmussen Reports study, while only 49 percent of whites favor the program.

The American people aren’t the only ones questioning affirmative action practices, however.  The Supreme Court is also gearing up to tackle that very issue before its current session comes to a close in June.

Under the school’s currently enforced affirmative action policies, the University of Texas accepts high school students who are in the top 10 percent of their Texas high school class, regardless of race or other factors. Students who fall outside of the top 10 percent at their high schools can be graded on other things, including extracurricular activities and race.

In 2008, then-high school senior Abigail Fisher was sent a rejection letter from the University of Texas despite having participated in many extra-curricular activities in high school.  In return, she sued the university, claiming that she was denied acceptance because she is white.

The Supreme Court will also hear a case over the constitutionality of an amendment to the Michigan State Constitution that prohibits discrimination or the use of preferential treatment in college admissions and public hiring later this year.

Rasmussen Reports surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide between May 28-29, 2013. The study had a margin of error of +/- three percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

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