Facts of the Case

Provided by Oyez

Petitioner Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) sued Harvard College over its admissions process, alleging that the process violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against Asian American applicants in favor of white applicants. Harvard admits that it uses race as one of many factors in its admissions process but argues that its process adheres to the requirements for race-based admissions outlined in the Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger.


After a 15-day bench trial, the district court issued a detailed opinion in favor of Harvard. SFFA appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed.


The case was consolidated for oral argument with a similar case challenging the admissions policies at the University of North Carolina.


  1. May institutions of higher education use race as a factor in admissions, contrary to the Court’s prior ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger? If so, does Harvard College’s race-conscious admissions process violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?