The Biden administration on Thursday issued guidance on how colleges can continue to diversify in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s seismic summer ruling invalidating race-conscious admissions.

Colleges continue to confront the fallout of the decision, which overturned decades of legal precedent enabling them to consider race as one factor in admissions.

Most institutions accept a majority or all of their applicants, and have no need to factor in race.

But the higher ed world has already observed the ruling’s ripple effects — including institutions eschewing racial considerations in other areas, like scholarships, which the high court did not address in June.

The U.S. Department of Education’s recommendations, released in a 66-page report, emphasizes the avenues colleges can legally explore to bolster socioeconomic and racial diversity in their classes.

Ideas range from strengthening programs that offer historically underrepresented students a path into higher education, to abandoning admissions policies shown to favor White and wealthy applicants. Critics in recent months have pounced on legacy preferences, which give advantages to students with a family connection to an institution, but disproportionately benefit the affluent in the process.

What advice does the administration have?

The Education Department peppered the report with examples of colleges’ strategies to bring in and support a diverse student body.

Federal officials stressed colleges of all types can take up these ideas, even though the Supreme Court ruling targeted race-conscious practices at two top-ranked private and public institutions — Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, respectively.

For starters, colleges do not need to disregard race when conducting outreach in admissions, the department said. They are free to target high schools with high shares of low-income students and racial diversity.

Institutions can push, for instance, college access programs in these geographic areas, so long as they “do not give targeted groups of prospective students preference in the admissions process,” the administration’s report states.

Other programs that could improve access include summer and dual enrollment initiatives in which high school students take college-level courses. The Education Department cautioned, though, that sometimes these programs aren’t easily accessible for marginalized populations.

Further, the report states, colleges should contemplate dropping admission metrics like the SAT or ACT, which benefit wealthy applicants with resources for extensive tutoring.

Read the full article about college admissions by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf at Higher Education Dive.