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EduDream combines CREE principles and rigorous research methods to produce insights that catalyze impactful action — with and for communities.

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EduDream approaches every partnership in a collaborative manner and embeds culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) principles across our work.

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High-quality, rigorous, and accessible work that will empower and motivate you to make decisions grounded in equity and evidence-based practices.

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Collaborative research that elevates the voices of racially and economically diverse students, families, and communities.

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A multi-year actionable research initiative generating evidence to advance policy dialogue on K12 education.

EduDream - About Us

About Us

EduDream is a Latina-founded, women-owned, and equity-focused research consulting firm that partners with nonprofits, foundations, and education institutions to provide culturally responsive and community-centered research and strategy. Led by a team of experts, EduDream redefines what’s possible for education research.


Post-Affirmative Action: Navigating the Path to Equity and Economic Mobility

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EduDream - Featured Insight


Elle Cumberbatch, Sophia Velez


September 7, 2023



June, the month of finishing finals, walking across the stage for graduation, and the beginning of summer, quickly turned into a month of despair as the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ended the use of race-based admission policies for both public and private institutions of higher education. In the wake of affirmative action being overturned, colleges and universities should overhaul their student recruitment efforts and admissions policies to ensure underrepresented student groups, such as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students and students from low-income backgrounds, have equitable enrollment access. If the purpose of earning a college degree is to improve one’s economic mobility, then it is imperative that students from communities who have experienced systemic economic inequality are considered equitably for college admission.

To learn what colleges and universities can do to improve their student recruitment and admissions policies, we can look at the University of California (UC) system. Passed in 1996, Proposition (Prop.) 209 prohibited the use of demographics such as race or ethnicity as an admissions factor in public institutions of higher education. The immediate effects of Prop. 209 on the admission and enrollment of underrepresented student groups were startling. Two of California’s most selective universities, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley) saw a 12% admissions drop and a 60% enrollment drop, respectively. Because students who attend selective UC universities tend to earn higher wages, Prop. 209 also had long-term economic repercussions and severely impacted the earnings potential of applicants from underrepresented student groups. Wages declined by an average of five percentannually for underrepresented student groups, disproportionately affecting Latinx students.

In response to the negative impact Prop. 209 had on underrepresented student groups, the UC system expanded its recruitment efforts using a more holistic approach that increases equity within its admissions processes. A few of these new practices include:

  • Prioritizing the admissions of in-state students by increasing outreach efforts to underserved high school students and their families.
  • Increasing community college partnerships to increase UC visibility among transfer students.
  • Removing standardized testing as an admissions factor, moving from test-optional to test-blind.

Following these efforts, the UC system welcomed their 2022 incoming undergraduate class with underrepresented students making up a record-breaking 31 percent.To ensure underrepresented student groups have equitable enrollment access, institutions of higher education should model their student recruitment and admissions processes after the UC system, while also considering the following approaches:

  • Reducing or eliminating the number of legacy admits permitted each year. John Hopkins University saw an uptick in Pell-Grant eligible student applicants and an overall increase in enrolled underrepresented student groups after reducing legacy admissions.
  • Developing pathway programs in school districts that serve a high percentage of Black, Latinx, and/or Indigenous students and students experiencing poverty. As referenced by the Department of Justice, colleges and universities can give preference to pathway program participants within the institution’s admissions process. Meaning, more targeted outreach to underrepresented communities could translate into a higher number of underrepresented student applicants applying to institutions with pathway programs.
  • Adopting an Economic Mobility Index and being transparent about how an institution’s degree programs lead to career opportunities that improve a graduate’s economic mobility. Such measures that illuminate a graduate’s potential economic return on investment can generate greater interest from underrepresented student applicants.

Looking back, it took the UC system two decades to achieve a 1% increase in its Black undergraduate population and a 12% increase in its Latinx students after Prop. 209 was passed. This is particularly alarming considering the impact such policies have on the economic mobility of underrepresented student groups. As a Black student who attended one of the University of California campuses 18 years post-Prop. 209, adhering to a race-neutral admissions policy meant I viewed being accepted as a huge feat. However, once admitted, it also meant navigating college life as one of the few Black students on campus. Underrepresented student groups cannot spare another 20 years to pass while bearing the weight of inequitable admissions policies. Institutions of higher education should act now to reimagine their recruitment efforts and admissions policies while interrogating campus cultures at large to ensure equity and economic mobility for underrepresented students.