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Can Socioeconomic Status Substitute for Race in Affirmative Action College Admissions Policies? Evidence From a Simulation Model

Reardon, Sean F.; Baker, Rachel; Kasman, Matt; Klasik, Daniel; Townsend, Joseph B.
Publication Year:
ETS White Paper
Document Type:
White Paper
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Admission Process, College Admission, Race, Affirmative Action, Socioeconomic Status (SES), Policies


These simulations suggest 3 important patterns: (a) practical SES-based affirmative action policies do not yield nearly as much racial diversity as do race-based policies; (b) there is little evidence that affirmative action policies produce systemic academic mismatch; on average, affirmative action policies do not sort minority students into colleges for which they are academically unqualified; and (c) the use of affirmative action policies by some colleges affects enrollment patterns in other colleges.

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