Study Highlights Ongoing Racial Disparities in College Admissions

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The recent study, ‘Shifting Tides: The Evolution of Racial Inequality in Higher Education from the 1980s through the 2010s,’ sheds light on the persistent racial disparities in college admissions in the United States.

The research, conducted by a team from various universities and published in Sage Journals, analyzed four national survey datasets spanning four decades to examine trends in college attendance among different racial groups.

Despite an overall increase in college attendance across all racial groups, the study reveals an ongoing and widening gap in admissions to top-tier, four-year colleges for Black and Latino students compared to their White peers.

Even when accounting for factors like family income and parent’s education, the disparity remains, underscoring a systemic issue within the American education system. Byeongdon Oh, a co-author of the study, noted that despite the expansion of higher education, privileged individuals continue to benefit the most.

The unique aspect of the study lies in its comprehensive approach, leveraging data from four different surveys representing a diverse range of high school graduates over the decades.

Study Highlights Ongoing Racial Disparities in College Admissions

The results indicate that while there has been an increase in Black and Hispanic students attending two-year and non-selective four-year colleges, their representation in elite four-year institutions remains disproportionately low.

The findings carry significant implications, especially in the context of the 2023 Supreme Court ruling that overturned affirmative action. The researchers advocate for a holistic approach to admissions, considering an applicant’s background and circumstances.

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They emphasize the importance of addressing educational disparities at the K–12 level and recommend universities incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) into their mission statements, prioritizing inclusive admissions practices.

In essence, the study highlights the pressing need for systemic changes to address racial disparities in higher education admissions, urging a collective effort to create a more equitable and inclusive educational landscape.

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