Race and Class Intersection in the Access to College Destinations: The Influence of Race- and Need-Sensitive Policies

Sigal Alon, Tel Aviv University

While race and class barriers throughout the educational pipeline are well depicted in the stratification literature, very little attention has been paid to the intersection between them. This paper not only provides evidence on the intersection of class and race in college attendance patterns, it also considers the societal and organizational mechanisms that produce this conditional relationship by shaping the access of rich and poor blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and whites to selective and nonselective institutions. By means of the NELS:88 survey, the college destinations of all high school graduates in 1992 are arrayed by institutional type and selectivity: 2-year open-door; 4-year non-competitive; 4-year competitive and 4-year very competitive institutions, as well as non-enrollment. The results show that although, Hispanics and blacks on one hand, and poor youth on the other, were less likely to enroll in 4-year very competitive colleges, economically disadvantaged Hispanics, blacks, as well as Asians, were more likely than their white counterparts to enroll in these colleges, whereas the situation is reverse among affluent students. The concluding section considers the role played by affirmative action (race-sensitive) and financial aid (need-sensitive) in shaping the observed race-class intersectionality, creating unique educational opportunities for students hailing from different race-class groups.

  See paper

Presented in Session 13: Racial and Ethnic Differences in Schooling