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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(9), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7090167

Unequal Higher Education in the United States: Growing Participation and Shrinking Opportunities

1
Department of Counseling and Higher Education, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA
2
Department of Educational Administration, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 12 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Inequality in Access to Higher Education)
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Abstract

This paper argues that rising institutional inequality is a component of individual-level inequality in the United States because U.S. higher education provides a diverse group of students with unequal access to different kinds of institutions. Using latent profile analysis, we classified all public and private nonprofit higher education institutions in the U.S. from 2005 to 2013 into seven categories. We held these categories stable over time and allowed institutions to move between them. “Good value” institutions were scarce and tended to limit access through selective admission. Only Subsidy Reliant institutions that were directly supported by government appropriations regularly provided good value seats to a racially diverse group of students. Yet the number of institutions in the Subsidy Reliant category declined markedly over time. The resulting system offered access to many students but provided limited opportunity to secure a good value seat. View Full-Text
Keywords: institutional stratification; high participation system; race in the U.S.; inequality of outcomes; politics of higher education institutional stratification; high participation system; race in the U.S.; inequality of outcomes; politics of higher education
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Taylor, B.J.; Cantwell, B. Unequal Higher Education in the United States: Growing Participation and Shrinking Opportunities. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 167.

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