The guidance from the Obama administration gave schools a framework for "considering race to further the compelling interests in achieving diversity and avoiding racial isolation".
The withdrawal of the Obama-era guidance constitutes a return to the George W. Bush-era policy discouraging affirmative action programs and instead encouraging the use of race-neutral alternatives, like percentage plans and economic diversity programs.
"The Supreme Court has been consistent over decades in its rulings on lawful use of race in affirmative action and the guidance the Trump administration rescinds today offered nothing more than a clear and practical statement of the law and how to comply with it".
"It's so much harder to get into Harvard and other selective institutions if you are Asian than if you are white - which is much harder if you are Hispanic or black", Ilya Shapiro with the Cato Institute said.
Last November, the US Department of Justice responded to AACE's civil rights complaint against the Harvard University by starting an investigation into the school's admissions practices.
The administration's decision to rescind Obama-era guidelines will not change Northeastern's practice of using race as a consideration in admissions, Armini said.
The announcement abolishes Obama-era rules regarding race in the admissions process.
The departments of Justice and Education announced on Tuesday that they have retracted several letters and memos that advised schools on how they could legally consider race in admissions and other decisions.
Wood added: "The Departments of Education and Justice justify the new "guidance" as an explanation of how colleges and universities can expand the use of race without running afoul of federal law". However, the action does suggest that the federal government will be more willing to investigate complaints by applicants that they were denied entrance to a particular college due to their race, experts said.
On Tuesday, Harvard and other universities were defiant in defending their admissions policies as legal.
Many have not shied away from expressing their deep disappointment over the Trump administration's Tuesday decision. In a statement, the school called the lawsuit an attack on its ability to consider race in admissions, which it says is necessary to assemble a diverse mix of students.
Harvard says its admissions policies comply with US laws and that it has worked to boost financial aid to ensure economic, as well as racial, diversity in its classes.
The Supreme Court set the precedent that allowed for affirmative action in college admission decisions in 1978 and reaffirmed that precedent in 2003, 2013 and 2016.
The action comes amid a high-profile court fight over Harvard University admissions that has attracted the government's attention, as well as Supreme Court turnover expected to produce a more critical eye toward schools' race-conscious admissions policies.
And in the final year of Barack Obama's presidency, the Supreme Court vindicated his administration's position.
"This guidance restated the law and our national commitment to diversity".