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PwC to Allow White Students to Apply for Scholarships Due to a Racial Controversy

PwC has removed eligibility criteria that prevented white students from applying for scholarships in the United States after becoming mired in a discrimination scandal.

The Big Four accounting firm, which employs 46,000 people in the United States, has lifted race-based limitations from an internship program and grants aimed to help students prepare for accounting tests.

The projects were previously solely accessible to submissions from ethnic minority students as part of PwC’s recruitment attempts to increase diversity in its US headquarters, according to the Financial Times.

The professional services firm is the latest US corporation to remove diversity criteria for scholarship programs, after the Supreme Court’s ban on race-based university admissions last year.

The Supreme Court, headed by conservative judges, declared that US institutions may no longer consider an applicant’s race during the admissions process.

The landmark ruling reversed affirmative action practices that had been in place for decades to improve the number of ethnic minority students at prestigious US institutions.

Since the ban, employers have removed diversity factors from scholarship applications to prevent unjustly rejecting persons based on race.

America First Legal, an activist group led by Donald Trump’s former White House policy adviser, later alleged that PwC’s racial recruiting and internship policies violated anti-discrimination statutes.

According to PwC’s most recent diversity and inclusion report, the company is now bringing “rigour” to its diversity and inclusion initiatives in the United States in light of the Supreme Court decision.

The report also removed PwC’s vow to provide 40% of its procurement budget to minority-owned vendors.

Similar initiatives have been made by US law firm Morrison & Foerster, who represented Chinese internet giant Alibaba in completing the largest IPO in US history, and Covid-jab producer Pfizer, who faced criticism for its diversity fellowships.

More than half of the PwC US workforce is white, with the report indicating that 55% of employees were white as of June 2023.

Asian employees account for 22 percent, Black workers for 7 percent, and Hispanic or Latino employees for 9 percent.

Yolanda Seals-Coffield, chief people officer of PwC US, told the Financial Times: “Our commitment to cultivating an environment where all our professionals can thrive hasn’t changed. How we get there may face a few hurdles that it didn’t a year ago.”

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