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Racial and Ethnic Gaps in Postsecondary Aspirations and Enrollment

Abstract

"One major finding of the Equality of Educational Opportunity (EEO) report was that a smaller proportion of African Americans than whites reported 'wanting to go no further than high school in each region of the country.' Blacks in the 1960s had high college aspirations, and those aspirations have continued, but today, as then, fewer blacks than whites attend four-year colleges. Since the EEO report, the U.S. population has become increasingly diverse, and postsecondary aspirations and enrollment now vary considerably among racial and ethnic groups. Whereas the EEO report focused on the significant role of students' concrete knowledge about college in postsecondary attendance, it paid limited attention to variation in postsecondary preparation activities. This study contrasts earlier indicators of student college knowledge with college preparation activities to understand variations in college enrollment among different racial and ethnic groups. Results indicate that concrete knowledge has less impact on minority postsecondary enrollment than taking more-advanced academic courses."

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