No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life

Thomas J. Espenshade
Alexandria Walton Radford
IN COLLABORATION WITH CHANG YOUNG CHUNG
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 576
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7rqbv
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  • Book Info
    No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal
    Book Description:

    Against the backdrop of today's increasingly multicultural society, are America's elite colleges admitting and successfully educating a diverse student body?No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equalpulls back the curtain on the selective college experience and takes a rigorous and comprehensive look at how race and social class impact each stage--from application and admission, to enrollment and student life on campus. Arguing that elite higher education contributes to both social mobility and inequality, the authors investigate such areas as admission advantages for minorities, academic achievement gaps tied to race and class, unequal burdens in paying for tuition, and satisfaction with college experiences.

    The book's analysis is based on data provided by the National Survey of College Experience, collected from more than nine thousand students who applied to one of ten selective colleges between the early 1980s and late 1990s. The authors explore the composition of applicant pools, factoring in background and "selective admission enhancement strategies"--including AP classes, test-prep courses, and extracurriculars--to assess how these strengthen applications. On campus, the authors examine roommate choices, friendship circles, and degrees of social interaction, and discover that while students from different racial and class circumstances are not separate in college, they do not mix as much as one might expect. The book encourages greater interaction among student groups and calls on educational institutions to improve access for students of lower socioeconomic status.

    No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equaloffers valuable insights into the intricate workings of America's elite higher education system.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3153-1
    Subjects: Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. Chapter One OVERVIEW
    (pp. 1-13)

    By the end of the 1970s the U.S. civil rights revolution had reached full flower. The Supreme Court inBrown v. Board of Education(1954) overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine enshrined inPlessy v. Ferguson(1896) and put a constitutional end to forced school segregation based on race. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 etched theBrowndecision into law and ended legalized racial discrimination in government, employment, and public accommodation. A surge in black voter registration was prompted by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, aided in large measure by federal monitoring efforts built into the law. The...

  6. Chapter Two PREPARING FOR COLLEGE
    (pp. 14-61)

    “In her desperation, 17-year-old Jessica Roeper found herself wishing that somebody—anybody—in her family had died” (Goldberg, 1997: A1). Why? So she would have something significant to write about in her college application essay. A high school senior stole Bowdoin College’s catalogue from the guidance office because of a “fantasy that someone really talented in singing would see the view book and take [her] spot” (Shea and Marcus, 2001: 89). One college applicant told a reporter she had awakened from a nightmare about her college admission prospects, declaring, “Fine. I’m a reject. I’m an outcast” (Goldberg, 1997: B8).¹

    Parents...

  7. Chapter Three WHAT COUNTS IN BEING ADMITTED?
    (pp. 62-129)

    Much previous research on access to postsecondary education in the United States is incomplete because it focuses on schools that students attend and overlooks the intervening process of college application and admission (Espenshade, Hale, and Chung, 2005). It is not that gatekeeping functions of colleges and universities are believed to be uninteresting or unimportant but rather that data on who applies and who is accepted are difficult to obtain (Bowen and Levin, 2003; Karen, 1991b). In this chapter we examine factors affecting admission to seven NSCE institutions, all of them academically selective four-year colleges or universities. We will be particularly...

  8. Chapter Four THE ENTERING FRESHMAN CLASS
    (pp. 130-175)

    We have discussed who applies to selective colleges and who is accepted. Yet it is the students who actually attend elite universities who reap the most long-term career and financial benefits. Who are these matriculants? Sometimes elite college students are depicted by the media as the brightest and most accomplished students the nation has to offer.¹ At other times they are portrayed primarily as individuals born with silver spoons in their mouths (Golden, 2006; Kaufman, 2001; Leonhardt, 2004). Such accounts leave us with contradictory impressions about the students who attend our nation’s most selective colleges and universities.

    In this chapter...

  9. Chapter Five MIXING AND MINGLING ON CAMPUS
    (pp. 176-225)

    The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed inGrutter v. Bollinger(2003) that there are substantial educational benefits to diversity and declared that student diversity in higher education represents a compelling state interest.¹ There is ample research to illustrate the personal and societal benefits when students interact with classmates from different racial backgrounds. In their comprehensive review of the literature, Chang, Astin, and Kim (2004) report that students who have more cross-racial interaction exhibit greater cognitive development, more positive academic and social self-concepts, higher graduation rates, increased leadership skills, more cultural awareness and understanding, higher levels of civic interest, and greater college...

  10. Chapter Six ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
    (pp. 226-262)

    A letter of acceptance to a highly rated college or university is coveted more today than at any other time in the history of American higher education. As proof, one need look no further than to record numbers of applications received by Ivy League and other academically selective institutions or to acceptance rates that, in some instances, have fallen below 10 percent.¹ Half of the respondents in a 2007 nationwide survey of adults supported by the Lumina Foundation for Education believe that a college degree is essential to be successful in the workplace, up dramatically from 31 percent in a...

  11. Chapter Seven SHOULDERING THE FINANCIAL BURDEN
    (pp. 263-297)

    The high cost of college tuition tops Americans’ list as the most important issue facing higher education (Smallwood, 2006). According to the College Board (2007a: 14), average student expenses at four-year colleges for the 2007–8 academic year range from $17,300 for in-state public college students to $27,800 for out-of-state public university matriculants and to $35,400 for private college undergraduates.¹ Even after we subtract the average amounts students receive in grants and education tax benefits, 2007–8 college costs (including tuition, fees, room, and board) are still $10,000 at four-year public colleges and universities and $23,000 at four-year private institutions...

  12. Chapter Eight BROADER PERSPECTIVES ON THE SELECTIVE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE
    (pp. 298-338)

    In previous chapters we looked carefully at how race and social class influence who applies and who is admitted to academically selective colleges and universities and how these same factors shape subsequent experiences on campus. In the final three chapters, beginning with this one, we adopt a broader perspective on contemporary issues facing higher education. In this chapter we address four questions. First, which students are the actual beneficiaries of affirmative action in the college admission process? Are these students the same as the intended beneficiaries? Second, selective institutions in higher education rest their defense of race-conscious admission practices on...

  13. Chapter Nine DO WE STILL NEED AFFIRMATIVE ACTION?
    (pp. 339-377)

    We devoted an entire chapter in this book to understanding how the elite college admission process works. Part of our reason for doing so was to remove some of the mystery and air of apparent secrecy that surrounds these practices (Paul, 1995b; Steinberg, 2002). In this chapter we revisit the subject of college admission, but now we have a different purpose. Here we are interested not so much in what admission practices are but rather in what they could or even should be. Part of the rationale for revisiting admissions is that this is the ground of greatest contestation. In...

  14. Chapter Ten WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
    (pp. 378-410)

    In this concluding chapter we pull back from the detailed analyses in earlier chapters and ask: What does it all mean? What are the lessons to be learned? And where do we go from here? Preceding chapters have stressed themes of inequality and how they manifest themselves by race and social class at academically selective colleges and universities. We have examined strategies used in preparing for admission to selective colleges, the strength and varieties of admission preferences conferred, and social class differences by race and ethnicity. We have also studied how graduates from selective schools evaluate their undergraduate experience in...

  15. Appendix A THE NSCE DATABASE
    (pp. 411-430)
  16. Appendix B NOTES ON METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 431-461)
  17. Appendix C ADDITIONAL TABLES
    (pp. 462-482)
  18. REFERENCES
    (pp. 483-522)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 523-547)