Separate & Unequal How Higher
Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege By: Anthony P. Carnevale and Jeﬀ Strohl July 31, 2013
Overview • The higher education
system is more and more complicit as a passive agent in the systematic reproduction of white racial privilege across generations.This report analyzes enrollment trends at 4,400 postsecondary institutions by race and institutional selectivity over the past 15 years. • 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 * 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 on our website. For a full list, please consult Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges.
• The good news is
that the percentage of African- Americans and Hispanics enrolling in postsecondary has dramatically increased. More African Americans and Hispanics are going to postsecondary institutions, but it is a good news, bad news story
• The vast majority of
white freshmen are going to the 468 most selective, four-year colleges. African-American and Hispanic freshmen, on the other hand, are primarily attending under-resourced two- and four-year colleges. The bad news is that there are two separate secondary pathways
• Whites have an advantage
over their African- American and Hispanic peers since they attend colleges with greater financial resources and higher completion rates. • As a result of attending more selective colleges, whites have higher rates of graduate school enrollment and advanced degree attainment, as well as higher future earnings, even among equally qualified students. These separate pathways lead to unequal educational and economic outcomes
Whites are attending colleges that
spend almost five times as much on instruction as open-access two- and four-year colleges, which African Americans and Hispanics disproportionately attend
The inequality in the postsecondary
system also carries over to the labor force • Workers with professional degrees earn more over a lifetime than workers who dropped out of college
Your parents’ past can aﬀect
your future • In the United States, parents’ education plays a large influence on their children’s educational attainment and whites are twice as likely as African Americans and three times as likely as Hispanics to complete a BA or higher.
Conclusion • The United States
is currently stuck in a cycle where whites take one educational path and African Americans and Hispanics take a diﬀerent one. • These diﬀerent paths result in unequal educational opportunities that also lead to lower wages for African Americans and Hispanics. • Separate paths, combined with both unequal outcomes and low social and economic mobility in the United States has led to the intergenerational reproduction of white racial privilege.
For more information: See the
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