The higher education system is more and more complicit as a passive agent in the systematic reproduction of white racial privilege across generations. Separate & Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege analyzes enrollment trends at 4,400 postsecondary institutions by race and institutional selectivity over the past 15 years.

Key Findings


Since 1995, 82 percent of new white enrollments have gone to the 468 most selective colleges, while  enrollments for Hispanics (72%) and African Americans (68%) have gone to two-year and four-year open-access schools.


The selective colleges spend anywhere from two to almost five times as much on instruction per student as the open-access colleges.


More than 30 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics with a high school GPA higher than 3.5 go to community colleges compared to 22 percent of whites with the same GPA.


Even among equally qualified white, African American and Hispanic students, these pathways are not only separate but they bring unequal results.

Full Report

In this report, we find that every year we continue to produce college-qualified African American and Hispanic students who don’t get college degrees.

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.

*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.

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