America’s post-secondary education system helps perpetuate a dual system of racially segregated pathways that lead to white educational privilege, according to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
The report, Separate and Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege, found that white overrepresentation in the nation’s 468 most elite and competitive colleges is increasing even though the percentage of white college-age students is in decline. Since 1995, more than 80 percent of new white enrollments have been at the top tier colleges while more than 70 percent of new African-American and Hispanic enrollments have been at open-access two-year and four-year institutions. More than 30 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics with a high school grade point average (GPA) higher than 3.5 go to community colleges compared with 22 percent of whites with the same GPA. Among students who score in the top half of test score distribution in the nation’s high schools and attend college, 51 percent of white students get a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 34 percent of African-American students and 32 percent of Hispanic students, according to the study. The report said equal access to top colleges and universities is important to achieving racial equality in education and earnings.