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Proposed guidelines from the Department of Education will allow the University to report the number of multi-racial students for the first time.

Existing regulations force multi-racial and multi-ethnic students to select only one racial or ethnic category on registration forms that Penn uses to compile its full enrollment data. The University reports these data to the Department of Education each year.

The new guidelines would require universities to allow students to mark multiple races, thus allowing universities to report this information.

The Department of Education uses these data for research purposes and statistical analysis, according to the proposal.

According to Lois Chiang, Provost Ron Daniels' chief of staff, multiracial and multiethinic applicants have been able to select multiple racial categories for the past three years, but federal regulations have not "allowed this type of selectivity" when it comes to enrolled students.

Chiang said that once the proposal is finalized, the University will modify its procedures quickly to remain in compliance with the new guidelines.

Universities will have until fall 2009 to implement the changes.

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