Study: Minority Students Applying in Small Numbers to Top Colleges

Despite recent statistics showing that more African-American and Hispanic students are attending college, a new study from the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce found that these demographics of students are not applying to or attending institutions of higher education that reflect their potential. 

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The report, “Separate & Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege,” found that while 82 percent of Caucasian students attend one of the top 468 schools in the nation, only nine percent of African-Americans and 13 percent of Hispanic students go on to attend those same schools. For the 68 percent and 72 percent respectively of those that attend open-access, or less competitive schools, the graduation rate is 40 percent.

The report goes on to state that for African-American and Hispanic students who attend the top colleges and universities—the combined 22 percent—their graduation rate is 73 percent, nearly twice as much as that of students at less competitive schools. Grad cap resized 600

“A lot of the differences reflect expectations,” says Jeff Strohl, who co-authored the report with Anthony Carnevale. “We know that first-time college-going students tend to undershoot the level of education they can achieve. They don’t necessarily know that they can get into an elite four-year institution, so they don’t apply,” as quoted by an article in the Fiscal Times.

The article also examines how a college education affects the income gap, neighborhood segregation, and the wealth gap in the United States.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is working to help decrease this difference in education by providing some of the most generous scholarships in the nation to students who have significant unmet financial need.  Further, Scholars have access to educational advisers as well as the JKCF Scholar community to help guide and support them.

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In a recent internal evaluation of students accepted into the Foundation’s Young Scholars Program between 2001 and 2011, 86% of these Scholars went on to attend the “most” or “highly” selective institutions of higher education in the nation.  Of these students, most are minorities and all are from low-income families.  Because the Foundation believes that high-potential, low-income students will excel educationally when given the resources to develop their talents, the Foundation supports exceptional students from elementary school to graduate school through scholarships, grants, direct service, and knowledge creation and dissemination.  Learn more about our programs here.