Duke University announced it will no longer offer its Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship Program, a full-ride scholarship program offered to “top applicants of African descent.” The news comes after last year’s ruling by the Supreme Court to strike down race-based affirmative action in college admissions.

“It is very much disheartening to hear that this program that opened the door for me to come to Duke is now being closed essentially, even though it will take on a new form,” Mya Harris, a junior, told The Duke Chronicle.

The program was established in 1979 in honor of Reginaldo “Reggie” Howard, Duke’s first Black student government president. Applicants were required to show financial need, and selected undergraduate students were offered full tuition, room and board. The scholarship chose 15 to 20 Black students, who were also provided funding for independent research opportunities and domestic and international learning experiences.

Duke is replacing the scholarship program with the Reginaldo Howard Leadership Program, which is open to all undergraduate students regardless of race. Funding for the scholarship will now go toward this new program.

“The Reginaldo Howard Leadership Program will honor Reggie Howard’s legacy by supporting Black academic excellence, intellectual community and leadership on campus through an intentionally designed series of engagement opportunities,” Candis Watts Smith, the vice provost for undergraduate education, wrote in an email to Reggie Scholars and alumni.

A follow-up statement noted that the decision was taken “in light of changes to the legal landscape related to race-based considerations in higher education.”

The school also announced that recipients of merit-based scholarships will be notified about their awards after enrolling at Duke instead of before.

Reggie Scholars will continue to receive funding but no aid will be awarded to the Class of 2028 and beyond. They decry Duke’s decision and hope they can keep Reggie Howard’s legacy alive.

“I think the Reggie is a program that has given me a lot over the years,” Drew Greene, a senior, said. “It’s given me not only a community, but a group of friends, a group of academic peers that I enjoy spending time with … It has been a fantastic experience, so of course in that regard, I am gutted.”

“We just want to make sure that Reginaldo Howard stays in the conversation in any way, shape or form that we can because he was a very prominent figure in Duke’s history, period — not Black Duke’s history, not Latino Duke’s history, just Duke’s history,” Hannah Gedion, a sophomore student, added.