On September 9, 2015, OCR issued its letter of findings regarding its compliance review of the admissions process of Princeton University. OCR examined whether the University discriminated against Asian applicants, on the basis of race or national origin, in the University’s undergraduate admissions process. Under Title VI, strict scrutiny review is applied to the use of an individual’s race in admissions in federally assisted programs. Under the strict scrutiny standard of review, the recipient must have a compelling interest for using race, and its use of race must be narrowly tailored to that interest. OCR conducted strict scrutiny review of the University’s admissions process, which entailed examining whether the University was pursuing a compelling interest in diversity and whether the University’s use of race and national origin was narrowly tailored to meet that interest. As part of this investigation, OCR interviewed current and former University admissions staff, including the Dean of Admissions and the former Director of Admissions. OCR also reviewed 15 years of admissions data. In addition, OCR conducted file reviews, including a random sample of 597 applicant files and a review of 529 applicant files from select large high schools in the U.S. from which relatively large numbers of both non-Asian and Asian students applied to the University. Based on the evidence gathered in the course of OCR’s investigation, OCR determined that there was insufficient evidence that the University discriminated against Asian applicants, on the basis of race or national origin, in the University’s undergraduate admissions process in the years reviewed.
Read the Resolution Letter PDF (393K)