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Higher Education and the Color Line

Authors: Gary Orfield, Patricia Marin, Catherine L. Horn
Date Published: July 08, 2005

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decisions upholding affirmative action, Higher Education and the Color Line outlines the agenda for achieving racial justice in higher education in the next generation. Weaving together current research and a discussion of overarching demographic, legal, and political issues, this comprehensive and timely book focuses on the racial transformation of higher education and the structural barriers that perpetuate racial stratification at the postsecondary level.

Harvard Education Press, Copyright © 2005
ISBN 1-891792-59-8

About the Book

Higher Education and the Color Line includes chapters that outline the demographic changes in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education; the evolving role of law and policy; the barriers faced by minority college students; and the kinds of programs that best serve them. Topics addressed include: financial aid; the role of community colleges; nontraditional paths to postsecondary education; and the role of higher education in social and economic mobility. Taken together, these discussions examine the role of higher education in opening up equal opportunity for mobility in American society—or in reinforcing the segregation between white and nonwhite America.


Published by Harvard Education Press, Higher Education and the Color Line is edited in part by Gary Orfield, director and co-founder of The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, and funded in part by Lumina Foundation for Education.


“Today more than ever, higher education stands as the gateway to the kind of society we will become. Higher Education and the Color Line is a major contribution to contemporary debates about how that gateway should be constructed against the backdrop of race, gender, and class in American society.”

—Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University


“Inclusion is the single greatest challenge facing colleges and universities in the United States. This is especially true in states like California, where the so-called minority will soon be the majority. Higher Education and the Color Line is an incredible resource for those of us on the front lines who are trying to ensure that our institutions serve the entire population, not just those who by virtue of an accident of birth are among the privileged classes.”

—Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor, University of California-Berkeley


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