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Affirmative Action fell this week in the United States almost instantly triggering a discussion as to whether or not schools had a plan B. It turns out the UC Davis Medical School has long had an alternative that some are now looking to for inspiration. AA has been illegal in California since 1996 for those wondering.

A fascinating column in the NYT explores what the school calls the socioeconomic disadvantage scale, or SED. The school uses this scale in place of ‘AA’ which focuses on someone’s background as a whole rather than ‘race’ as some critics of AA have suggested the topic does in itself.

So how does it work?

According to the Times profile, prospective students are assigned a number score from zero to 99 based on their circumstances, including their family’s income and the education level of their parents and their history. That score is then added in addition to grades, essays, interviews, recommendations, and test scores for the portfolio used to decide who receives an invitation to enrol.

This article is part of our 2024 Election coverage because it is presently a topic amongst political candidates for the WH.

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