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Maxwell

Access to Selective Colleges in the Pre- and Post-Grutter Eras among Racial, Ethnic, and Immigrant Groups

Amy Lutz (PI)

The ability of selective colleges to use race-based affirmative action in admissions changed dramatically from the mid-1990s into the 2000s due to state bans and the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger Supreme Court decision that clarified how affirmative action may be used. Understanding group differences in access to selective colleges is important because research suggests that selective colleges offer myriad advantages over non-selective colleges (e.g., more rigorous courses, higher graduation rates, better career outcomes). Yet, little research has compared racial-ethnic and nativity differences in access to selective colleges across the two affirmative action contexts. Therefore, investigators examine application to, enrollment in, and graduation from four-year selective institutions, four-year non-selective institutions, historically black colleges and universities, and two-year institutions in the pre- and post-Grutter time periods to answer the following questions: 1) To what extent do native and immigrant black, white, Asian, and Latino students apply to, attend, and graduate from different types of colleges? 2) To what extent are racial-ethnic and nativity differences in college destination and graduation explained by SAT scores and other indicators of merit? 3) To what extent are racial-ethnic and nativity differences in college destination and graduation, SAT scores, and other indicators of merit explained by social and economic background characteristics? 4) How do group differences in college destination and graduation vary nationally across the pre- and post-Grutter time periods, and across states that banned and did not ban affirmative action?

Using multivariate statistical methods (logit, probit and propensity score analysis), investigators analyze data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS) and the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS). NELS and ELS are nationally-representative surveys collected by the National Center for Education Statistics that reflect high school graduates' enrollments in college in 1994 and 2006, prior to and after the 2003 Supreme Court case.