Framing the Argument over Affirmative Action in College Admissions



Subsequently, these ideas have evolved to include within their ambit the process of college admissions also. This contributed to an intensification of the debate, encompassing some social and economical aspects. Pasque’s Array of Higher Education Benefits can be used as a framework to analyze the debate over Affirmative Action, by clarifying the public and private benefits deriving from the implementation of these policies. Proponents of affirmative action’s admissions policies see the issue from the perspectives of public (social) benefits as they feel that these policies help in affording a larger percentage of minorities the opportunity to gain access to colleges and universities. They argue that if minorities have access to higher education the society stands to benefit in terms of reforms. Diversity on campus helps students overcome racial stereotypes, thus better preparing them for the diverse, global workforce (Hicklin, 2007). Additionally, many of the arguments in favor of affirmative action are based on the egalitarian theory that “inequality is permissible so long as any inequalities result in maximizing the position of the worst off, that is, those with the fewest primary goods” (Moses, 2009). The concept of public social benefits of higher education support this ideal. Long cites studies showing that minority students, who benefited from admissions policies under affirmative action, are more likely than their white counterparts, who attended an elite college, to serve the community through increased volunteerism and community service (2007). Another key factor is that statistically, college graduates are less likely to be involved in criminal activities.

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