December 13, 2009
ABOUT COLLEGE EDUCATION: DATA DO MATTER
Bowen, William G., & Derek Bok, The Shape of the River: Long Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1998).
Bowen, William G., Matthew M. Chingos, & Michael S. McPherson, Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2009) ("[E]ducational attainment in the United States today is highly consequential. Important are both overall levels of educational attainment and disparities in educational outcomes by race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), and the kind of university a student attends. These outcomes and the forces that drive them are enormously important not only to prospective students and their parents, institutional decision makers, and policy makers but to all who care about both economic prospects for this country and its social fabric--which is so strongly shaped by the pronounced differences in educational levels seen in relation to how one grows up. In this study, we focus on patterns of educational attainment at public universities, which educate more than two-thirds of all full-time students seeking bachelor's degrees at four-year colleges and universities." Id. at xiii.).
Espenshade, Thomas J. & Alexandria Walton Radford, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2009) ("In this book we address the role of elite higher education in confronting issues of inequality on U.S. college campuses. Specifically, our aim is to draw back the curtain on the selective college experience and take a close look at how race and social class are intimately intertwined with the admission process and with the academic and nonacademic sides of campus life. We ask three central questions. First, to what extent is American elite higher education involved in promoting social mobility? We know, for instance, that the economic return to a college degree is increasing and that the return to a selective college or university education is rising even faster. Therefore, mobility chances in the population are deeply affected by exactly who is profiting from the kind of education selective colleges offer." Id. at 2. "A second set of questions revolves around the use of affirmative action by selective institutions." Id. at 4. "A third issue we address relates to campus life itself. Sometimes lost between a preoccupation with admission practices on the one hand and graduation rates on the other is a concern for students themselves--who they are, what they learn both inside and outside the classroom, and generally what happens to them while they are in college. We know one thing for certain. Every selective college and university values diversity in all its many forms and has taken deliberate steps to enroll a diverse freshman class. Unlike the broader adult society, diverse racial groups of students are in close contact on campus. Students from different backgrounds sleep in the same dorms; they eat in the same dining halls; they mainly wear the same clothing styles and carry the same backpacks; and they go to class together. College officials have seen to it that racial groups are no longer separate. But does this mean they are equal? There are different ways to anticipate an answer." Id. at 5-6.).