By Joy Resmovits

Asking applicants for information about their criminal history can prevent them from finishing their applications, King says. 

Because a disproportionate number of people who have been charged with crimes are people of color, the U.S. Department of Education says, these questions increase the barriers disadvantaged students face when seeking an education. 

“We believe in second chances and we believe in fairness,” King said in a statement. “We must ensure that more people ... have the chance at higher education opportunities.”

The Department of Education is sending a guide, called “Beyond the Box,” with suggestions to college presidents across the country. The guide comes with a letter that urges them to “attract a diverse and qualified student body without creating unnecessary barriers for prospective students who have been involved with the justice system.”

Read more.