Ethno-Racial Composition and College Preference: Revisiting the Perpetuation of Segregation Hypothesis
This study investigates whether there is a positive association between students’ high school ethno racial composition and the ethno-racial composition of their first college preference.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 627, No. 1, pp. 36-58
- On average, White students who attend predominantly (i.e., greater than 75 percent) White high schools select a first-preference college that is 11 percentage points more White than White students who attend minority (i.e., 25 percent or less) White high schools (74 and 63 percent, respectively).
- Hispanics students who attend predominantly Hispanic high schools prefer colleges that have three times the proportion of Hispanic classmates as the colleges preferred by minority Hispanic high school attendees (46 and 15 percent, respectively).
- Among Blacks, students in predominantly Black high schools prefer colleges that have twice the proportion Black as the colleges preferred by students attending both integrated (i.e., 25 to 50 percent same ethno-racial group) and minority Black schools (52 and 27 percent, respectively).
- Multivariate results show that even when high school and student characteristics are taken into account, support for Braddock’s perpetuation of segregation hypothesis persists not only for Blacks but also for Hispanics, Asians, and Whites.
- However, controlling for nearest college characteristics eliminates the association between ethno-racial composition of high school and first college preference for both Blacks and Hispanics; For both White and Asian students, the association between high school and top college preference share of own group also shrinks when characteristics of nearby colleges are taken into account, but for both groups, it remains statistically significant.
- Characteristics of nearby colleges rather than a preference for segregated settings in large part explains the observed perpetuated segregation in college choice.
- Among Black students, friends’ college plans are most important for those who attended majority-Black schools.
- Among students who attend schools where more than half of their classmates are of the same race or ethnicity, family attendance at college choice is more important for Black students than for White and Hispanic students.
Journal Article Empirical Research
College, Composition, Racial Composition, SES
Method of Analysis:
High School Seniors in Texas
Unit of Analysis:
- Senior cohort survey data from the Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project (THEOP), administered in spring 2002 to a representative sample of 13,803 Texas public high school students.
- Sample restricted to 7,016 Black, White, Asian, or Hispanic seniors with complete information for all variables.
- Data contain student- and school-level characteristics most often associated with college choice decisions.
- Students are asked about their college preferences before they enrolled, which reduces selection bias inherent in studies of college enrollees that examine college choice decisions retrospectively.
- Data include information about the ethno-racial composition of both the students’ high schools and their college preferences.
- DV: Proportion of the student body at the respondent’s first college preference that is the same race or ethnicity as the respondent
- IV: Proportion of the student body [high school] that is the same race or ethnicity as the respondent; Nearest college characteristics
Controls: High school and student characteristics such as SES, % qualified for free lunch, parents' education, etc.