Atlanta University Center schools anticipate surge in applications post-Affirmative Action ban

The US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action late last month has placed the nation’s historically Black colleges back in the spotlight as many prepare for an increase in admission applications.

For HBCU school officials like Ingrid Hayes, the ruling wasn’t the outcome they were hoping for, but felt was inevitable. Hayes serves as Senior Vice President of Enrollment at Spelman College, a historically Black liberal arts college for women.

"We have known for a while that the decision was coming. It’s been disappointing to many of us, including myself, but not unexpected," she said.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 16: Spelman College graduates, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, participate in 2020 & 2021 Spelman College Commencement at Bobby Dodd Stadium on May 16, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Spelman commencement activities to (Getty Images)

The 6 to 3 vote that ended any consideration of race in college admissions has prompted new conversations about how historically Black colleges will be impacted. 

"I think we’re at a moment that is an opportunity for schools," Hayes said. "More people understanding why the institutions like Spelman exist and having their eyes open to that opportunity ... we don’t have to be convinced that you’re going to be great. We already know it." 

With increased interest brought on by a re-energized social justice movement in 2020, Hayes told FOX 5 HBCU’s are expecting to see an even bigger boost in the number of applications they receive next Fall.

"Our applicant pool grew by as much as like 20-percent in recent years, so we expect that trend to continue," she stated.

But more students applying and limited resources at the historically underfunded institutions will likely make getting an acceptance letter in the mail more difficult. 

"There’s only so many students we’re able to serve and serve well," Hayes explained. "We are likely to see that it will be more competitive for students to be admitted to Spelman."

She told FOX 5 the admissions review process at Spelman is already pretty extensive, but they’ll be taking an even closer look at applications moving forward. 

Admissions for the upcoming Fall semester at Spelman has already wrapped up, but applications for Fall 2024 will open on August 1.