We already know this information. We ask for your parent's tax returns, so we don't really need anyone to tell us what neighborhood you live in. We know what high school you went to. We know how many people are on free and reduced lunches at that high school. And, more importantly, we know how much money your parents make. And, honestly, we don't care about that as much as we care about you being out of state (you pay us more money) or international (you pay us more money AND you're "diverse.") We'd like you to only market to you if we know you're going to enroll, and we'd like you to be a success (we're not monsters) but every year we have application, and enrollment deposit numbers we need to hit. Diversity is not what we're watching like a hawk every May first. It's enrollment deposits, every, single, year.
I see 2 things here:
Data analytics are huge in college admissions right now. We are trying to fill our funnel with applicants that can pay, can succeed, and are likely to enroll. There are a lot of companies trying to sell us algorithms that predict all of this, and this score seems tailor made to fit into those algorithms. These guys: capturehighered.com and these guys: www.ruffalonl.com and these guys: www.cappex.com and so many more. They're all about collecting data, adding buzzwords like AI and Machine Learning and Algorithms (!) to the data, and then selling the output to college admissions. This will just be another variable in the function they run on the data and may, or may not, increase the validity of these services.
Also - The SAT isn't the only score in town and many colleges have dropped the SAT's writing test (read - less revenue for SAT.) They have to continue to find compelling reasons for college applicants to take their test. This extra score is a signal to poorer parents that they should take the SAT because they'll get special consideration. But those applicants are already getting exactly this kind of special consideration, anyway. Sure this is an easier way for a college admissions worker to digest it, but this new score just makes the information easier to read the screen. The same decision was going to be made either way.
The best way into college is to have a high gpa, high test scores, don't commit any crimes or be disciplined by your school, and don't be a jerk in your essay. Stuff like what the SAT is doing here is just -------- snake oil sold to people who don't understand the process. Skip the SAT and take the ACT instead - it's (a little) cheaper.