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Altering Public University Admission Standards to Preserve White Group Position in the United States: Results from a Laboratory Experiment

Frank L. Samson
Comparative Education Review
Vol. 57, No. 3, Special Issue on Fair Access to Higher Education (August 2013), pp. 369-396
DOI: 10.1086/670664
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/670664
Page Count: 28
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Altering Public University Admission Standards to Preserve White Group Position in the United States: Results from a Laboratory Experiment
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Abstract

This study identifies a theoretical mechanism that could potentially affect public university admissions standards in a context of demographic change. I explore how demographic changes at a prestigious public university in the United States affect individuals’ evaluations of college applications. Responding to a line graph that randomly displays a freshmen enrollment trend toward a white plurality or an Asian American plurality, white student evaluators lower their minimum class rank standard for admitting white applicants when exposed to an Asian American plurality trend. They also raise the minimum test percentile standard for admitting Asian American applicants. Notably, plurality trend does not affect Asian American student evaluators’ minimum standards for recommending admission. Applications differed only by applicant race.

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