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No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life [Kindle Edition]

Thomas J. Espenshade & , Alexandria Walton Radford
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Against the backdrop of today's increasingly multicultural society, are America's elite colleges admitting and successfully educating a diverse student body? No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal pulls back the curtain on the selective college experience and takes a rigorous and comprehensive look at how race and social class impact each stage--from application and admission, to enrollment and student life on campus. Arguing that elite higher education contributes to both social mobility and inequality, the authors investigate such areas as admission advantages for minorities, academic achievement gaps tied to race and class, unequal burdens in paying for tuition, and satisfaction with college experiences.

The book's analysis is based on data provided by the National Survey of College Experience, collected from more than nine thousand students who applied to one of ten selective colleges between the early 1980s and late 1990s. The authors explore the composition of applicant pools, factoring in background and "selective admission enhancement strategies"--including AP classes, test-prep courses, and extracurriculars--to assess how these strengthen applications. On campus, the authors examine roommate choices, friendship circles, and degrees of social interaction, and discover that while students from different racial and class circumstances are not separate in college, they do not mix as much as one might expect. The book encourages greater interaction among student groups and calls on educational institutions to improve access for students of lower socioeconomic status.

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal offers valuable insights into the intricate workings of America's elite higher education system.

Editorial Reviews


Winner of the 2011 Pierre Bourdieu Book Award, Sociology of Education Section of the American Sociological Association

"Both supporters and opponents of affirmative action are likely to find ammunition in Thomas J. Espenshade's and Alexandria Walton Radford's book. . . . The authors provide a fascinating peek inside the admissions process at several unnamed universities."--Richard D. Kahlenberg, The Book, the online review at New Republic

"This is a big book, exhaustively researched and packed full of facts, numbers, and prose. . . . No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal is a must-have reference for everyone who pays attention to race and class controversies in higher education."--Robert VerBruggen, National Review

"Ultimately, [the authors] argue that the most important step toward eliminating inequity in higher education and society is to close the achievement gap, and they call for the creation of an effort on the scale of the Manhattan Project to do it."--Angela P. Dodson, Diverse Education

"With this incisive new book, Espenshade and Walton Radford explore the dynamics of differential college access and success in extraordinary detail. . . . The book's most significant contribution may be its persuasive, data-based analysis of affirmative action. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in higher education's role in creating a more equitable society."--Diversity & Democracy

"The authors cover a broad range of elite college admission issues that go beyond race and class, offering detailed perspectives on affirmative action. Researchers of equity issues in higher education, particularly in the selective college admission process as well as college counseling professionals will find, in this thorough and extensive work of research, tools to help clear up what may seem 'mysterious or secret' in the selective college admission process."--Joe Adegboyega-Edun, NACACNet

"Espenshade and Radford have produced a highly valuable book packed with useful race-based information relating to admission, academic performance, and ethnic group interaction on elite college campuses. . . . The data offers sound arguments for the need to not only continue race-sensitive affirmative action both in college and graduate school admissions but also in the workplace."--Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

"The thoughtful work of Espenshade and Radford represented in this significant volume should be just the beginning of the next phase of the ongoing national conversation about he role of higher education in providing equality of opportunity and social mobility. This book provides a useful framework for additional research and policy development."--Jonathan Alger, Journal of College and University Law

"Espenshade and Radford have produced the most comprehensive and best study yet of admissions and race relations in America's leading colleges and universities."--Steven Brint, American Journal of Education

From the Inside Flap

"This original and important book contributes to our understanding of college admissions, as well as the interracial social experiences and growing economic inequality in selective higher education today. Particularly interesting are the simulations of what racial and class compositions might be under different types of admissions criteria, including race-blind and class-sensitive conditions."--Caroline Hodges Persell, New York University

"I am impressed by the depth and breadth of this well-written and accessible book--it represents an important contribution to the literature about how race and class affect college admissions and student life."--Elizabeth A. Duffy, Head Master, The Lawrenceville School

Product Details

  • File Size: 9130 KB
  • Print Length: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 12, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003PDN9UM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,904 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Grim Reality January 19, 2010
In 1954 the Supreme Court unanimously agreed to eliminate the "separate but equal" doctrine in force for nearly 60 years. It took some time to implement but the die was cast. But neither immediate nor complete equality materialized. Instead delay and subterfuge seeped into many arenas. As Douglass S. Massey noted we entered a period of "discrimination with a smile."

The authors of this carefully researched book explore race and class at our elite colleges. This fact-filled book is elegantly written and very thought-provoking. Ten long chapters, 547 pages, over 200 tables, 3 appendixes and 39 pages of references provide readers a lucid picture and resources for further study.

Accepting America's ever increasing status as a multi-cultural society, the authors pose a key question. "Are America's elite colleges admitting and successfully educating a diverse student body?" To find the answer, they explored and studied "how race and social class impact each stage from application and admission, to enrollment and student life on campus."

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal offers valuable insights into the intricate workings and nuances of America's elite higher education conglomerate. A world onto itself, it has held the key to success for America's privileged select few for over two hundred years. Have the walls of access begun to crack? Have students unimaginable a mere generation ago been accepted? Have they succeeded?

Clearly the answer is yes. But the game has been spotty and it is neither over nor hardly won. The rich experiences of the recent past chronicled in this book can provide insights into the reality we face and ideas that could blossom into productive change.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book. It taught me a lot about the role that race and class play in the admissions process of elite colleges in the USA. And like Mr. Blume, i was impressed with the methodological and conceptual thoroughness of the analysis.

However, on a number of issues, the authors seem to overstate the results of their analysis in order to arrive at a conclusion that is friendlier to a pro-Affirmative Action position that seems warranted. For example:

1) In Chapter 6, the authors attempt to evaluate the "mismatch hypothesis", a proposal by critics of AA such as Sander (2004) and Thomas Sowell, which argues that when, thanks to AA programs at elite colleges, African-Americans and Hispanics with low academic preparedness (e.g., low SAT scores, low GPA) are placed in competition against highly-prepared whites and Asians, they will be worse off than if they had attended a less-selective, hence less competitive college, where their class rank would be higher and where they would be more likely to graduate; against the "selectivity" hypothesis of Bowen & Bok (1998), which argues that when academically-underprepared minorities are admitted to elite colleges, whatever costs they may incur because of their AA-based admission are outweighed by the benefits, particularly the notion that they are more likely to graduate from a highly selective college.

In making this comparison, the authors conduct some very thorough regression analyses, and some interesting facts are surfaced. First, the analysis shows that both blacks and hispanics are each about 45% less likely to graduate within 6 years than are whites and asians (p.234, 238). Second, contra Bowen & Bok (1998), once numerous factors are controlled for, there is NO statistically-significant (p < .
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1) How is American elite higher education involved in promoting social equity? 2) What role does affirmative action play in admissions, and do we still need it? 3) What are students' experiences, academic and otherwise, once they arrive on the campuses of America's selective colleges and universities? Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford skillfully answer these questions, which are at the heart of American higher education, in "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal."

In terms of its scope, analysis, and implications for policy, I think Espenshade and Radford's "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal" stands to rival Bowen and Bok's classic "The Shape of the River." I found great value in "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal" from three perspectives:

As a graduate student, I appreciate the methodological rigor with which Espenshade and Radford explore their research questions. The authors' use of nationally representative student data is comprehensive and compelling. Espenshade and Radford also painstakingly cite a range of scholarly work that adds great credibility to their analysis.

As an admission professional, I find "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal" to be thought-provoking and intellectually accessible. The questions examined in this book are the questions with which we grapple on a daily basis.

As an American interested in equity and social justice, this book is both sobering and hopeful. We, as a nation, have a long way to go before we can claim any sort of racial equity in access to higher education. Yet with the eloquent arguments presented in "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal," I find hope in the awareness and energy that is growing around these issues.
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