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Affirmative Action Ruling Finds Duke University Ending Full-Ride Scholarship Program For Selected Black Students

Duke University is discontinuing its Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship Program, established in 1979 for top African American applicants, due to a Supreme Court decision ending race-based affirmative action in college admissions. The scholarship, named after Duke's first Black student government president, covered full tuition and more for select Black undergraduates.

"It is very much disheartening to hear that this program that opened the door for me to come to Duke is now being closed essentially, even though it will take on a new form," junior Mya Harris said.

In its place, a new leadership program will support all undergraduates, regardless of race, emphasizing academic excellence and community engagement. Current scholars will continue to receive funding, but no new scholarships will be awarded after 2028. The decision was made without input from current scholars, leaving them feeling powerless. Despite the disappointment, many anticipated the change given the evolving admissions landscape. 

"I think the Reggie is a program that has given me a lot over the years," senior Drew Greene said. "It's given me not only a community, but a group of friends, a group of academic peers that I enjoy spending time with … It has been a fantastic experience, so of course in that regard, I am gutted."

In response to a Title IX complaint, Duke also altered its merit scholarship selection process, notifying recipients after enrollment. Despite the changes, scholars aim to uphold Reginaldo Howard's legacy and keep his contributions to Duke's history relevant.


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