The Trump administration is set to roll back the Obama-era policies promoting diversity in universities, known as affirmative action, US media report.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked 24 guidance documents on Tuesday, many involving race in schools and affirmative action recommendations.
It comes as Harvard University faces a discrimination lawsuit alleging it limits admissions for Asian-Americans.
In 2016, the US Supreme Court had ruled in favour of affirmative action.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the 2016 opinion, announced his retirement from the top US court last month.
His departure gives President Donald Trump a chance to appoint a justice who more closely matches the administration's views on taking race into account in college admissions.
The Trump administration is expected to tell schools not to consider race in the admissions process, discontinuing the policy former President Barack Obama adopted to promote more diversity at colleges and high schools.
Academic affirmative action - known as positive action in the UK- which involves favouring minorities during the admissions process in order to promote campus diversity, has long proved controversial in the US.
The lawsuit against Harvard currently filed by the Students for Fair Admissions alleges that the college holds Asian-American applicants to an unfairly high admissions standard.
The Justice Department is also currently investigating Harvard over racial discrimination allegations.
Asian-Americans currently make up 22.2% of students admitted to Harvard, according to the university website.
The Obama-era policy replaced the Bush-era view that discouraged affirmative action.
The Bush-era guidance had been removed from the government website during the Obama administration, but it has since reappeared.
What is affirmative action in US colleges?
Affirmative action, or the idea that disadvantaged groups should receive preferential treatment, first appeared in President John F Kennedy's 1961 executive order on federal contractor hiring.