A new study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Arizona that was published by EMRA (Enrollment Management, Recruiting & Access) Research, finds that American colleges and universities tend to spend their recruiting resources at high schools attended by children of high-income White families.
Researchers used digital data collection techniques to collect statistics on off-campus visits to high schools by college and university recruiters. They found that public universities tended to visit out-of-state high schools with large percentages of Whites and students from high-income families. Both public and private colleges and universities were more likely to visit private schools than public high schools. College and universities were more likely to visit affluent predominantly White high schools than high-performing schools with large numbers of students of color.
Ozan Jaquette, an assistant professor of education at UCLA and a co-author of the report, notes that “All students who work hard and get good grades in high school should have equal opportunity to attend our nation’s top colleges and universities, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status. Colleges and universities say that they want to increase opportunity for low-income students and students of color, but our analysis finds that most colleges and universities prioritize affluent, White schools, while often ignoring schools in poor communities and communities of color.”
Karina Salazar, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona and a co-author of the report, added that “the debate around access to higher education too often focuses on students’ abilities while ignoring the role that colleges and universities play in targeting specific populations of potential students. We hope that our data will provide the attention and insight needed to create change that will make college access more equitable.”