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In November 2014, Students for Fair Admissions Inc. (SFFA), a private group, filed a federal lawsuit alleging that UNC-Chapel Hill’s holistic admissions process was unconstitutional.

After an eight-day trial, a North Carolina district court ruled in favor of UNC-Chapel Hill in October 2021. The trial court issued a 155-page opinion that concluded, after applying the law to the facts and evidence, that our admissions process complies with precedent reaffirmed as recently as 2016 by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin)

SFFA appealed the trial court decision but promptly petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case without conventional appellate review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

SFFA also filed a federal lawsuit against Harvard University that went to trial in 2018. A federal district court also ruled in Harvard’s favor in 2019, a decision that was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in 2020.

In January 2022, the Supreme Court agreed to hear both the Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill cases. The court is scheduled to hear separate oral arguments for each case on October 31, 2022. A decision is expected in 2023.