The federal government wants colleges to limit questions about applicants' criminal records

Secretary of Education John King comes to UCLA

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. wants colleges to stop asking applicants about their criminal histories early in the admissions process, he announced at UCLA on Monday.

Asking prospective students for information about their criminal history can prevent them from finishing their applications, King said.

Because a disproportionate number of people who have been charged with crimes are people of color, the U.S. Department of Education says, these questions add one more barrier to those that disadvantaged students already face when seeking a college education.

“Rather than asking how do we limit opportunity, we should be asking how do we broaden...