Bias in College Admissions

Topics: Black people, University, Racism Pages: 6 (2328 words) Published: March 27, 2007
Bias in College Admissions
There is no mistaking that getting into college is highly competitive, a college degree is now more necessary than ever. There are many kinds of bias race, gender, grade point average, financial ability and more important class. The Oxford American College Dictionary defines bias as "Prejudice on favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Many in this country view the college or university admissions process to be unfair. One of the most divisive issues involving admissions is race. As on many issues involving race, whites and blacks have different opinions regarding which race currently fares better in the college admissions process… The majority of whites (54%) tend to view affirmative action programs as giving preferential treatment to minorities in work and education, while the majority of blacks (65%) generally think that they mainly ensure access for minorities that they otherwise might not get... The number of white Americans earning a bachelor's degree or higher has tripled, from 8% in 1960 to 26% in 2000. During the same time period, blacks have nearly quintupled their college graduation rate in 1960, just 3% of blacks earned a college degree, compared with more than 14% today, (Lyons, 2005). Affirmative action has a great deal to do with the increase in minority enrollments in colleges and universities. "In the United States existing literature on affirmative action is not clear on its origin and the precise date when Affirmative Action is still a conundrum. Nevertheless most of the literature pin the origin of Affirmative Action… in 1935," (Antwi-Boasiako & Asagba, 2005, p. 734). In July of 2003, the United States Supreme Court struck down the University of Michigan's undergraduate affirmative action admissions program. Which favored African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics. But three new CEO studies show that preferences, for blacks especially have gotten worse in subsequent years. These preferences extend to law and medical school admissions as well, (Chavez, 2006).

Symonds writes, consider, that only 3% of students at these top schools came from families in the bottom socioeconomic quartile and just 10% are from families in the bottom half. Meanwhile, a substantial 74% of the students hail from families in the top quartile defined by family income, parental education, and other factors such as neighborhood affluence. The discrepancies stem from soaring tuitions and lagging financial aid, a one-two punch that effectively has priced many low-income students out of the market for a sheepskin. Moreover, while the University of Michigan case centers on admission to the most competitive colleges, the issue of economic segregation affects a far broader universe. Not only are students from low-income families largely shut out of the elite colleges, but they are also much less likely to attend college at all, compared with their counterparts from wealthier families. By the time they turn 26, just 7% of students who grow up in the lowest-income families have earned a BA, vs. 59% of students who come from the most affluent families, according to the Education Trust, a nonprofit group in Washington. These economic disparities have grave implications for American society. They suggest that the problems of racial polarization will persist even with continued affirmative action, since African Americans and Hispanic children are far more likely than Caucasians to grow up in poverty. Moreover, because a college degree is increasingly a passport to the middle class, "this is hardly a route for greater economic mobility," says Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust. Instead, warns Tom Mortenson, senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, "The trajectory we're on suggests we will become a poorer, more unequal, and less homogeneous country." Financial...

References: Antwi-Boasiako, K., & Asagba, J. (2005). "A preliminary analysis of African American college students perceptions of racial preferences and affirmative action in making admissions decisions at a predominantly white university." College Student Journal, 39(4), 734-748. Retrieved March 2, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database.
Chavez, L. (2006, October 23). "Discrimination Is Alive and Well." Human Events, 62(36), p.19. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.
Fliegler, C. M. (2007, February). "Dim Days for Affirmative Action." University Business, 20(25), p.7. Retrieved February 15, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.
Glazer, N., & Thernstrom, A. (1999, September 27). "Should the SAT account for race?" New Republic, 221(13), 26-29. Retrieved March 2, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.
Holsendolph, E. (2006, June 1). "Grappling with the gender disparity issue." Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 23(8), 12. Retrieved March 2, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.
Lyons, L. (2005, September 13). "Blacks: Whites Have Advantage in College Admissions." Gallup Poll News Services, pp. 1-4. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.
Nussbaumer, J. (2006). "Misuse of the law school admissions test, racial discrimination, and the de facto quota system for restricting African-American access to the legal profession." St. John 's Law Review, 80(167), pp. 167-181, pp. 181A-181F. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.
Symonds, W. (2003). "College admissions: the real barrier is class." Business Week. Retrieved March 2, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database.
Taylor Jr., S. (2003). "Myths and realities about affirmative action." National Journal, 35(15), 1125. Retrieved March 2, 2007, from Academic Premier database.
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