Access and Equity

Affirmative Action, the Fisher Case, and the Supreme Court: What the Justices and the Public Need to Know, by John Aubrey Douglass

John Aubrey Douglass
2013

Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide on the contentious issue of Affirmative Action, and specifically the use of race in admissions decisions in public universities. Despite differences in the details, seasoned veterans of affirmative action debates are experiencing déjà vu. In this case, Abigail Noel Fisher claims overt racial discrimination when the highly selective University of Texas at Austin (UT) rejected her freshman application in 2008.

Back to the Future: Freshman Admissions at the University of California, 1994 to the Present and Beyond, by Saul Geiser

Saul Geiser
2014

The past five years have seen unprecedented changes in freshman admissions at the University of California, reflecting steep cuts in state funding that UC sustained during that period as well as changes in UC’s definition of who is eligible to enter the university.  The number of California applicants who were not admitted to the UC system more than doubled between 2010 and 2012, although part of that increase also reflected a change in admissions policies and procedures.  The number of “no shows” – applicants who were admitted but did not attend – increased shar

International Berkeley: Enrolling International Students Yesterday and Today, Debates on the Benefits of Multicultural Diversity, and Macro Questions on Access and Equity by John Aubrey Douglass

John Aubrey Douglass
2014

The argument that cultural and other forms of diversity enhance the educational experience of all students is generally associated largely with post-1960 efforts to expand the presence of disadvantaged groups on the campuses of America’s universities and colleges. Yet, in the case of UC Berkeley, debates on the merits of cultural diversity have much earlier roots in the historical enrollment of international students. Debates in the late 1800s and early twentieth century revolved around the appropriateness of enrolling foreign students, particularly those from Asia.

The Growing Correlation Between Race and SAT Scores: New Findings from California by Saul Geiser

Saul Geiser
2015

This paper presents new and surprising findings on the relationship between race and SAT scores. The findings are based on the population of California residents who applied for admission to the University of California from 1994 through 2011, a sample of over 1.1 million students. The UC data show that socioeconomic background factors – family income, parental education, and race/ethnicity – account for a large and growing share of the variance in students’ SAT scores over the past twenty years.

College Affordability and the Emergence of Progressive Tuition Models: Are New Financial Aid Policies at Major Public Universities Working? by Patrick A. Lapid and John Aubrey Douglass

Patrick A. Lapid
John Aubrey Douglass
2016

In an era of significant disinvestment in public higher education by state governments, many public universities are moving toward a “progressive tuition model” that attempts to invest approximately one-third of tuition income into institutional financial aid for lower-income and middle-class students. The objective is to mitigate the cost of tuition and keep college affordable. But is this model as currently formulated working? What levels of financial stress are students of all income groups experiencing? And are they changing their behaviors?

Affording the Dream: Student Debt and State Need-Based Grant Aid for Public University Students by C. Eaton, S. Kulkarni, R. Birgeneau, H. Brady, and M. Hout

C. Eaton
S. Kulkarni
Robert Birgeneau
Henry Brady
Michael Hout
2017

Public research universities are a key vehicle for educational mobility. Yet rising student debt for undergraduate students has created new risks, particularly for lower income students at lower ranked universities. We find that student loan default rates reached 35 percent for low-income students at public universities with low research rankings during the Great Recession. Given these troubling loan default rates, we find encouraging evidence that a few U.S. states have adopted robust need-based grant aid programs to make college more affordable for low-income students.

The "Turning Point" for Minority Pre-Meds: The Effect of Early Undergraduate Experience in the Sciences on Aspirations to Enter Medical School of Minority Students at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, by Donald A. Barr and John Matsui

Donald A. Barr
John Matsui
2008

The University of California faces the challenge of increasing the diversity of students graduating from its medical schools while also adhering to mandated restrictions on the use of race or ethnicity in the admissions process. Students from diverse backgrounds who gain admission as undergraduates to UC Berkeley and express an early interest in a medical career are an important potential source of medical students for the UC system. However previous data suggest that many of these undergraduate students lose interest in a medical career and never apply to medical school.

Reflections on a Century of College Admissions Tests, by Richard C. Atkinson and Saul Geiser

Richard C. Atkinson
Saul Geiser
2009

Standardized testing for college admissions has grown exponentially since the first administration of the old “College Boards” in 1901. This paper surveys major developments since then: the introduction of the “Scholastic Aptitude Test” in 1926, designed to tap students’ general analytic ability; E.F.

No College Student Left Behind? by Steven Brint

Steven Brint
2008

Today we face a challenge to the organization of higher education that will transform the enterprise, however it is resolved. That challenge goes under the name “learning outcomes,” or sometimes “accountability.” It is a challenge brought largely by those outside higher education, and it is based on criticisms of the performance of college and university instructors in the face of heightened public expectations.