Black Colleges Still Vital for Closing the Education Gap
1 year ago
Minority Serving Institutions help students break through barriers to attending elite colleges and universities
More and more students of all races and socioeconomic classes are attending college. Limited access to elite colleges and universities can facilitate racial and class-based stratification later in life. However, expansion of Minority Serving Institutions can help mitigate the impact of inaccessibility to the most selective institutions.
Education pays. Folks with graduate and professional degrees earn significantly more than their high school graduate counterparts. Certainly, the most selective and highly regarded institutions increase the likelihood of attending graduate or professional schools that qualify individuals for the highest paying jobs. Contrary to conventional wisdom, college selectivity has modest impact on individual earnings – meaning people with similar test scores, income and family educational levels earn relatively the same wherever they go. However, attending an elite college or university has much greater impact on low-income, African American and Latino students than whites.
The groups who are most likely to reap the benefits of an elite education are the least likely to attend. African American, Latinos, American Indians and Southeast Asians are more likely to attend failing high schools, have parents who did not go to college, and come from families in lower economic brackets – all barriers to selective colleges. Race and class are so interconnected that diverse student bodies are contingent upon post-secondary institutions’ consideration of both factors in admissions decisions.
Unfortunately since the Bush administration cautioned universities against using race as a factor for admissions, post-secondary institutions have developed practices that limit diversity on campuses. As a consequence, statewide governing boards control college enrollments in ways that stifle institutional freedoms to diversify student bodies. In many states, lawmakers are mandating admissions criteria, which creates tiers of institutions based on entering high school GPA and standardized test scores. These coordinating strategies assume that faculties can more efficiently graduate students with similar preparation levels.