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54 Howard Law Journal 256 (2010-2011)


Since the origin of affirmative action, selective higher education institutions' have generally lumped all blacks into a unified Black/ African/African American category. However, this practice of treating all blacks alike has now changed. The Department of Education ("DOE") issued the Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the United States Department of Education ("Guidance") in October 2007, which had a final implementation date for the reporting school year of 2010-2011. The Guidance marked the first time that the federal government dictated the procedures that educational institutions, including selective higher education programs, must follow when collecting data on the race and ethnicity of their students and reporting it to the DOE.' Previous federal regulations, such as Title IV of the Higher Education Act, required colleges and universities to report such data, but the DOE did not specify the collection procedures.' This practice left higher education programs free to gather information using different methods. Such flexibility was important because it allowed higher education programs to respond more efficiently to their various local needs for racial and ethnic data about their students. This article discusses the Guidance and its effects.

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