Actuating equity?: Historical and contemporary analyses of African American access to selective higher education from Sweatt to the Top 10% Law

Vasquez Heilig, J., Reddick, R., Hamilton, C. & Dietz, L. (2011). Actuating equity?: Historical and contemporary analyses of African American access to selective higher education from Sweatt to the Top 10% LawHarvard Journal of African American Public Policy27(1), 11-27.

This article examines key events, contexts and policies in the history of selective higher education admissions and enrollment in Texas. The authors find that African American enrollment disparities reduced between 1967 and 2008. The paper also demonstrates that African American enrollment has increased in the Top Ten Percent Plan (TTPP) era relative to earlier time periods. Notably, 70% of African American TTPP students —despite automatic admission— chose not to attend the University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M, the state’s two public flagships. Considering that the vast majority of African American TTPP students did not attend Texas’ flagship universities, a large persistence and graduation rate gap between flagship and less-selective institutions of higher education has had a disproportionate impact.

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