July 31, 2013
The higher education system is more and more complicit as a passive agent in the systematic reproduction of white racial privilege across generations. This report analyzes enrollment trends at 4,400 postsecondary institutions by race and institutional selectivity over the past 15 years.
Since 1995, 82 percent of new white enrollments have gone to the 468 most selective colleges*, while 72 percent of new Hispanic enrollment and 68 percent of new African-American enrollment have gone to the two-year open-access schools.
These separate higher education pathways matter because resources matter.
- The selective colleges spend anywhere from two to almost five times as much on instruction per student as the open-access colleges.
Even among equally qualified white, African-American and Hispanic students, these pathways are not only separate but they bring unequal results.
- More than 30 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics with a high school grade point average (GPA) higher than 3.5 go to community colleges compared with 22 percent of whites with the same GPA.
*For this study, we use Barron's Education Series, College Division. 2009 Barron's Profiles of American Colleges. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 2008. A shortlist of the 468 most selective colleges is available here. For a full list, please consult Barron's Profiles of American Colleges.