Common App Will Keep Questions on Criminal Backgrounds and Disciplinary Record

The Common Application has announced it will keep questions about applicants’ criminal background and disciplinary records, rejecting a call to drop the questions, reported Inside Higher Ed.

Many colleges have included questions about criminal backgrounds and disciplinary records on their applications for years, and the Common Application has been asking such questions since 2006, reported Inside Higher Ed. In the last two years, however, many groups have called for the questions to be eliminated, noting the discrimination faced by young minority individuals in the criminal justice system and lack of evidence that colleges are trained to analyze the answers appropriately, reported Inside Higher Ed.

The Education Department, under the Obama administration, urged colleges to reconsider their use of the questions. SUNY decided to drop the questions in September.

The Common Application will continue to require the answers but will add more information about how colleges may or may not use the question, Inside Higher Ed reported. The organization emphasizes that an affirmative answer does not disqualify an applicant. Colleges will continue to have the ability to suppress the answers. But the Common App will now be able to figure out which institutions suppress. Currently, 50 out of 700 do so.


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