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College Access

Our current research topics related to college access include college admissions, affirmative action, financing, diversity, and underrepresented students in higher education.

Two thousand-eight marked the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Bakke decision, which legally upheld the consideration of race as a factor in admissions decisions for the purpose of promoting diversity in higher education. Such affirmative action policies have opened the doors of selective colleges and universities to many more minority students than might have otherwise had opportunities. While access to higher education has improved for minorities in this country, that progress is still severely threatened due, in part, to a series of very serious attacks on affirmative action. In 1996, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Hopwood v. University of Texas Law School, ended all considerations of race in admissions, recruitment, and scholarships at the undergraduate and graduate school level at all public institutions under its jurisdiction (i.e., Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana). In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, a ballot initiative that also eliminated affirmative action in education, employment, and contracting throughout the state. And, the University of Michigan faced legal challenges in 2003 to both its undergraduate and law school admissions policies that give consideration to race/ethnicity.

 

Recent College Access Research

Research Item Is Opportunity Knocking or Slipping Away? Racial Diversity and Segregation in Pennsylvania
As a slow-growth increasingly diverse state with an aging population, Pennsylvania needs to think hard about its continued passive acceptance of segregated and inferior schooling, and about the spread of destructive racial patterns from urban areas into growing sectors of suburbia and small cities.
Research Item The Salience of Racial Isolation: African Americans’ and Latinos’ Perceptions of Climate and Enrollment Choices with and without Proposition 209
The study compares the ways in which California’s ban on affirmative action harms the University of California in comparison to the University of Texas and leading private institutions in terms of both the climate on campus for nonwhite students and the lack of success in recruiting top-ranked applicants of color.
Research Item Brief of American Social Science Researchers in Fisher v. University of Texas
American social scientists from all parts of the country present a summary of research findings to the Supreme Court as it prepares to hear a key case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, on the future of integration in America’s colleges this October.
Research Item Statement on the Development of the Brief of American Social Science Researchers in Fisher v. University of Texas
We hope that this brief will be of use to other parties participating in all American colleges and to the justices and the clerks themselves. Hundreds of experts have participated in this important effort to communicate what is known about the obstacles to and the conditions for achieving successfully diverse campuses that can best prepare young Americans to live and work in an extremely multiracial future.
Research Item California: A Case Study in the Loss of Affirmative Action
Notwithstanding the initial commitment to educate “all portions” of the state’s youth, underrepresented minorities (URMs) have never achieved equal representation in the UC and their representation has declined since the mid-1990s just as their share of the state’s population has burgeoned.
Research Item The Impact of Affirmative Action Bans in Graduate Education
This report contributes to the mounting evidence about the detrimental effects bans on affirmative action have had on the representation of students of color in postsecondary education. Specifically, the bans in Texas, California, Washington, and Florida have reduced by about 12 percent the average proportion of graduate students of color across all the fields of graduate study included in the evaluation.
Research Item Dismantling College Opportunity in California
These studies released today call attention to the fact that cuts to higher education impact students, their families, CSU faculty, and staff well beyond the classroom. Reduction in access, retention, and increase in cost are disproportionately impacting traditionally underrepresented students, and are being felt within their personal lives.
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