Aerial view of a building

Princeton’s trustees establish committee to examine undergraduate admissions policy

Princeton University’s Board of Trustees has established an ad hoc committee led by Trustee José Alvarez, Class of 1985, to examine the University’s admissions policies in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling this year prohibiting most higher education institutions from considering race, ethnicity and national origin when selecting candidates for admission. 

The committee’s work will be guided by the two key principles that undergird Princeton’s admissions process: merit-driven admissions and the imperative to attract and support talented students from all sectors of society, including underrepresented groups. 

The committee’s recommendations are expected by the end of the 2023-24 academic year.

“The University will be in full compliance with the Supreme Court ruling for the 2023-24 admissions cycle,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “But this ruling also comes after a global pandemic and amid a significant expansion of the undergraduate student body. It is a good time to take a broader look and ensure our admissions policies in general are optimally serving the University’s mission.”

This admissions cycle will feature new essay prompts in the undergraduate application, as well as new procedures that make race, ethnicity and national origin information collected from applicants unavailable to University personnel (including administrators and faculty) involved in the evaluation of candidates. In addition, the University is educating all such personnel to facilitate compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision.   

The ad hoc committee will consider longer-term changes and is charged with reviewing admissions-related data and trends, examining Princeton’s admissions policies and practices, and recommending any adjustments before the board’s May 2024 meeting.

In addition to Alvarez, its members are Jackson A. Artis ’20, Joshua B. Bolten ’76, Beth F. Cobert ’80, Marisa J. Demeo 88, Janeria A. Easley *16, Blair W. Effron ’84, President Eisgruber ’83, Lori D. Fouché ’91, Philip U. Hammarskjold ’87, Kimberly H. Johnson ’95, Carol Quillen *91, Louise S. Sams ’79, Bradford L. Smith ’81, and Melissa H. Wu ’99. University Vice President and Secretary Hilary A. Parker ’01 will serve as secretary to the committee.

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision, President Eisgruber reaffirmed Princeton’s commitment to “attract exceptional people of every background and enable them to flourish on our campus.” Princeton’s goal, he said, is “to preserve — and, indeed, grow — the diversity of our community while fully respecting the law.”  

Princeton’s Board of Trustees periodically establishes ad hoc committees to explore specific topics, such as campus naming and iconography (2020), Woodrow Wilson’s legacy at Princeton (2015), access for lower-income students (2013), and diversity of faculty, grad students and administrators (2012).