Our current research topics related to college access include college admissions, affirmative action, financing, and diversity 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
- Percent Plans in College Admissions: A Comparative Analysis of Three States’ Experiences
- Our public schools are becoming increasingly segregated by race and income and the segregated schools are, on average, strikingly inferior in many important ways, including the quality and experience of teachers and the level of competition from other students. Given these facts, it is clear that students of different races do not receive an equal chance for college.
- Trends in Public School Segregation in the South, 1987-2000
- Our analyses show that segregation has remained at very high levels in most Southern states and districts, and has even increased by large amounts in many others. There does appear to be an important trend toward resegregation, but that trend is not uniform across the South. We also find that some trends are masked from one measure of segregation, but revealed by others, stressing the importance of the use of multiple measures and the examination of local situations.
- Who Should We Help? The Negative Social Consequences of Merit Scholarships
- The following report was developed from research commissioned for our conference State Merit Aid Programs: College Access and Equity held on December 8, 2001, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- A Public Laboratory Dewey Barely Imagined: The Emerging Model of School Governance and Legal Reform
- Public school reform raises the prospect of a broader redefinition of our very democracy.
- Affirmative Action as a Wedge Issue: Prop 209 and The 1996 Presidential Election
- This paper analyzes the "wedge issue" strategy from both a geopolitical and survey based perspective relying on the GIS mapping of the Statewide Database and a preelection survey that oversampled minorities in different types of neighborhood contexts. We find that although white voters overwhelmingly supported Prop 209, including independent and moderate Democrats, the issue failed to swing their vote from Clinton to Dole because it was less important than other more traditional Presidential issues such as the economy. Nonwhite and the loyal Republicans were more concerned about Prop 209 than others, but their Presidential votes were not in question.
- Diversity Challenged: Evidence on the Impact of Affirmative Action
- In the courts and in referenda campaigns, affirmative action in college admissions is under full-scale attack. Though it was designed to help resolve a variety of serious racial problems, affirmative action's survival may turn on just one question--whether or not the educational value of diversity is sufficiently compelling to justify consideration of race as a factor in deciding whom to admit to colleges and universities.
- The Hopwood Decision in Texas as an Attack on Latino Access to Selective Higher Education Programs
- This paper looks at the effects of the Hopwood decision on Latino students and examines factors impacting Latino students' access to higher education.