University of Rochester Medical School – Medical STEP Program for “Historically Underrepresented and Economically Disadvantaged Students”

Case Particulars


Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education

Date Filed

August 19, 2023

Docket No.


Case Status

OCR Complaint Filed

Case Overview

University Of Rochester’s School of Medicine & Dentistry has participated in a New York State funding program — entitled the Science and Technology Entry Program — designed for 7-12th grade students and which contains discriminatory guidelines limiting participation to those who are Black, Latino, Alaskan native or American Indian. As for all other applicants, only those coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds may be considered eligible for the program. The applicable state law for the program does not require that any school accept the funding; the school’s participation in the program was entirely voluntary.


Students in the STEP program participate in a summer program in which they are “exposed to a variety of academic and professional skill development to enhance problem solving, critical thinking and test taking skills through ‘hands-on’ learning.”


The application limits the applicant pool to those who are “members of an Underrepresented Group,” while White and Asian students must show that they are “economically disadvantaged” in order to be considered.


Equal Protection Project is the Complainant in this matter, which is under evaluation by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.