ColorLines: Blacks and Latinos Locked Out of Elite Universities

We're going to college, but are we getting schooled in the process?

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What's next for black and brown high school graduates?

Julianne Hing of ColorLines reports that African Americans and Latinos are going to school at a higher rate, but many are going to community colleges or for-profit programs, unlike their Asian and white counterparts. Standards have increased for admission to colleges and universities, including the need for AP courses, extracurricular activities and higher SAT scores. What happens if your school doesn't have an AP curriculum or you can't participate in extracurricular activities because of lack of money (many are requiring students to pay as budgets are cut) or household responsibilities (caretaking of an elderly or younger relative)? Race and class also play a critical role in the disparity. Read an excerpt to find out more. 

Excerpt

A new report shows that blacks and Latinos might be gaining more access to higher education, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they're gaining access to all tiers of the system. The study, led by Michael Bastedo, a professor at the University of Michigan, says that even though college-going rates for blacks and Latinos are on the rise, they've been accompanied by a parallel increase in admissions standards which have locked them out of the top colleges, and only further entrenched stratification in the higher education world.

What people already know is that a college education from a community college is not the same as one from an Ivy League university, let alone one that students get from a private college or a state school. And even though community colleges remain an important entry point for many into higher education, people who start at community colleges end up leaving before obtaining a diploma, and the most selective universities offer long-term benefits -- access to networks and opportunities -- that go far beyond the classroom.

Blacks and Latinos end up disproportionately in community colleges or even at for-profit schools, while whites and Asian-Americans (the study does not disaggregate this data into ethnic breakdowns) have made gains to end up in four-year public and private colleges. And the most selective schools have tougher admissions standards these days, requiring extracurricular activities, AP classes and ever-higher SAT scores, which in turn has only further entrenched inequities in the higher ed world.

"Just as they improve their own qualifications, what is being asked of them by our colleges is increasing," said Bastedo.

"These students cannot keep up with rising demands and what is being accomplished by other students who are competing to get into the same colleges. It is just that every step of the way, students from other backgrounds are one step ahead."

Read more at ColorLines.