K-12 college counseling, targeted outreach, and pathway programs for high school students can serve as strategies to encourage underserved students to apply to college in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision overturning race-conscious admissions, according to a U.S. Department of Education report issued September 28th.

The Supreme Court decision, which said race-conscious college admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill violate the 14th Amendment, was speculated to negatively impact the pipeline of racially and socioeconomically diverse high school students into postsecondary education.

One 2017 study using the USDE’s data found that adding one high school counselor leads to a 10 percentage point increase in four-year college enrollment. It also found that a college advising model aimed at helping low-income and first-generation students could cut the income gap in four-year college enrollment by half.

However, the national average ratio of counselors to students in the 2021-22 school year remained at 408 students per counselor, nearly twice as high as the recommended ratio by school counselor professionals of 250:1.

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