Princeton University didn't discriminate against Asian and Asian-American applicants, according to a lengthy review by the U.S. Department of Education.

The department's Office for Civil Rights began the review in 2008, responding to complaints from prospective students saying they were denied admission because of their race or national origin.

A letter from the office said there was "insufficient evidence" to establish the University discriminated illegally.

It did find admission officers often considered an applicant's racial or national background. But it didn't find that automatically led to acceptance or rejection of applicants.

From the letter:

For example, for an applicant attending high school in the U.S., admissions staff commented that “Polish heritage is neat but not a hook”; and based on other information in the record, the applicant was not offered admission. On the other hand, admissions staff noted that for a Mexican applicant attending high school in the U.S., the individual was a “cultural add as well”; and based on other information in the record, the applicant was waitlisted (but ultimately not admitted, as there were no available spaces). However, for another applicant of Hispanic national origin also attending high school in the U.S., admissions staff wrote that there was “No cultural flavor” in the application; and based on other information in the record, the applicant was not even waitlisted. For another applicant who was waitlisted, admissions staff wrote that the applicant was a “true American Native . . . One to do;” however, despite receiving a plus for national origin, this applicant was not ultimately admitted as there were no available spaces for anyone on the waiting list that year.

Among those who'd made claims of discrimination was Jian Li, a Livingston resident who was born in China. KLi said he was rejected even though he graduated in the top 1 percent of his high school class.

Louis C. Hochman is digital managing editor for NJ1015.com. Reach him at louis.hochman@townsquaremedia.com or on Twitter @LouisCHochman.