The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld race-based admissions at the University of Texas Austin. Many local colleges and universities had filed amicus briefs in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas.

The 4-to-3 ruling reaffirmed UT Austin's use of race in admissions, describing it as a narrowly tailored effort to build a diverse community.

Earlier this year, the American Council on Education and 37 other higher educational institutions—including Harvard University, MIT and Tufts University—had urged the court to protect affirmative action in college admissions.

Terry Hartle, a vice president at the council, points out that this marks the fourth time—in four decades—that the court has upheld race-based admissions.

"We think it's a home run for the University of Texas, and a grand slam for higher education," Hartle said. "The implications of this decision is something that campus officials—particularly general counsels—will be thinking about extensively over the next couple of weeks."

Prior court decisions allowed race to be considered as one factor in a holistic approach. But that precedent was in doubt when the court accepted the Texas case.