I heard from someone recently that some most universities take funding from the federal government, which means that they have to comply to a certain set of guidelines. Some of these allegedly include that a white male would have to get higher standardized test scores for acceptance than a non-white or female.

Is it true that the federal government gives money to universities and imposes a set of regulations on how they operate?

If this is true, is there any official documentation for these regulations and where is it?

Also, would it be justifiable under equal protection to have different acceptance rates for different groups of people?


This has been the subject of numerous lawsuits and attempts to set down objective laws.

Officially there's no mandate to discriminate against anyone. However, most colleges and universities consider race and gender in admissions. As such, it produces unequal treatment. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that was OK

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the consideration of race in college admissions, rejecting a white woman's challenge to a University of Texas program designed to boost the enrollment of minority students.

The ruling ended an eight-year legal challenge to the affirmative action admissions system used by the University of Texas at Austin brought by Abigail Fisher, who was denied a place in 2008.

In the Texas case, the challengers had failed to show that the university could have met its needs with another process, he said. Kennedy noted that the school "tried and failed to increase diversity" through other race-neutral means.

The other major part of this is Title IX funding. In theory, it simply mandates that schools that accept Federal funding be equal in gendered actions. Most of the friction here is over sports. There has to be an equal treatment of genders in sports (proportional to the gender breakdown of the student body), but there's a difference of opinion in how equal it has to be and what constitutes a sport. A federal lawsuit resulted in cheerleading being disqualified as a sport

In a decision released Tuesday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that competitive cheerleading does not yet meet the standards of a varsity sport under Title IX, the 1972 federal law that mandates equal opportunities for men and women in education and athletics.

As a result of the rules, many schools have opted to cut lesser men's sports (like volleyball, lacrosse, etc) in favor of major sports like American football, which is a profit center for most colleges that participate in Division 1 (where the events are often televised and the schools get a cut).

The Obama administration took this further. They argued that Title IX did not define what "sex" meant, and, as such, could include transgendered students. The Trump administration has since rescinded this guidance, however it is likely that future administrations will pick this back up.

  • As a follow-up question, where does "equal treatment and dignity" (as used by Kennedy in the Supreme Court article) differ from "equal opportunity" (as it stands for color-blindness being the only way to reconcile some of the horrible truths of our history) aside from apparently in practice? Voting in favor of a practice that represents the polar opposite of equal treatment (which would, by definition, only be achievable through color-blindness) seems a bit contrary to any idea of "equal treatment." – Nick Fulton Feb 3 '18 at 15:51
  • Also, I recognize that they mention the value of racial diversity (its exposing individuals to different viewpoints) and how they had tried and failed to achieve it without directly considering race, but if their only genuine motive is to promote diversity of perspectives, then striving for diversity of perspectives rather than diversity of skin color should be massively more effective, as it directly addresses the issue that is being resolved. Then, if they truly do treat everyone the same, minorities will have other reasons to attend. – Nick Fulton Feb 3 '18 at 15:56
  • @NicholasFulton You should ask this as a separate question – Machavity Feb 3 '18 at 16:59

The simple answer is yes, universities can receive federal funding and as a result are subject to a set of laws or guidelines as a result of taking said money.

One example is Title IX (Title 9) that prohibits discrimination.

From the NCAA website:

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

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