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Survey: 34% of white college students lied about their race to improve their admission, financial aid odds

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    A recent survey has found that 34% of its white respondents admitted to lying about being part of a racial minority to boost their chances of getting accepted into college.

    Taking advantage: The survey, which questioned 1,250 white college applicants aged 16 and up, discovered that 34% of them lied in their applications, according to Intelligent.

    • Forty-eight percent of them falsely claimed to be of Native American descent, and about 9% of them lied about being Asian American or Pacific Islander. Around 81% of the students who lied said they did it to increase their chances of getting admitted to their preferred schools, while 50% hoped to benefit from minority-focused financial aid.
    • About 75% of the students who made false claims got accepted into the schools they lied to.
    • The survey also found that male applicants lied more about their race in their college applications (48%) than female college applicants (16%) did. However, more female respondents admitted to lying about being Black than their counterparts did at 18% and 8%, respectively.
    • Kristen Scatton, the managing editor at, said applicants who lied to increase their chances of college admission were taking advantage of the belief that “many Americans of European descent have some Native American DNA in their bloodline.”
    • “However, research has shown that’s not all that common, particularly among white Americans. But applicants are banking on the fact that no college is going to ask them to provide a DNA sample to verify,” Scatton added.

    Other details: Jerome A. Lucido, executive director of the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice at the University of Southern California, told Inside Higher Ed that “these students may have been admitted regardless of their deception.”

    • Lucido further explained that “most colleges and universities across the nation are not highly selective, and many are taking every student who they believe can do the work.”
    • He also said that race “does not stand alone as a criteria” in an admission office, especially those found in colleges and universities which are supposedly “race-aware or race-conscious.”
    • “Any mechanistic use of race was prohibited by Supreme Court case law long ago,” he added. “Instead, race, culture and identity are viewed as inseparable from who the applicant is as a student and future community member.”
    • Emma Steele, senior public relations manager of the Common Application, also pointed out that college applicants are required to sign an affirmation form that states everything they submit during the process is “factually true and honestly presented.”

    On Monday, a federal judge endorsed the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) use of race as a factor in screening applicants after ruling that the university did not discriminate against white and Asian American applicants.

    Featured Image via Pixabay

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