Recent court decisions have colleges and universities across the country rethinking how to factor race into admissions policies.
The debate has also caused some to question the need for historically black colleges.
"Although this is a legitimate question, it always unsettles me. I wonder why no one ever asks if predominantly white institutions should still exist," says Dr. Marybeth Gasman of the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.
Professor Gasman points out that at many predominantly white institutions the percentage of African-American students is so small as to be almost non-existent.
"The under-representation of African-Americans in predominantly white institutions, juxtaposed with the success of African-Americans who attend black colleges, shows that black institutions are an essential fixture in American higher education," Dr. Gasman says.