WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the limited use of affirmative action by colleges and universities that seek to enroll more minority students.

The justices, by a 4-3 vote, ruled against a white student who was turned down by the University of Texas and claimed she was a victim of discrimination because race was a factor in the admissions process.

“The court’s affirmance of the university’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the university may rely on that same policy without refinement,” the majority opinion read. “It is the university’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admission policies.”

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the universities were owed “considerable deference” in deciding on how to achieve “student body diversity.”

Abigail Fisher, a woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case.

Fisher, a white Texan, sued the university after she was denied a spot in 2008. She later received her undergraduate degree from LSU.