Conceptualizing Racial Segregation in Higher Education: Examining Within- and Between-Sector Trends in California Public Higher Education, 1994-2014

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Annenberg Institute at Brown University


Conceptualizing and measuring levels of segregation in higher education is difficult as both vertical and horizontal sorting is prevalent and patterns vary across racial groups. In this paper, the authors measure various trends in racial segregation in California for 20 years. They find that the most selective four-year campuses are the least segregated and that the community college sector is the most segregated. This fact has remained relatively stable over time. They also find that observed levels of Latinx-White segregation are lower than the hypothetical levels they would see if college choice were determined exclusively by geography. However, observed Asian-White segregation is higher than it would be if college attendance were determined exclusively by geography.



selective colleges and universities, admission policy, educational equity