INEQUITIES PERPETUATED BY THE CURRENT COLLEGE ADMISSIONS MODEL, AND THE NEED TO IMPLEMENT A SOCIOECONOMIC-BASED APPROACH
Originally developed during the 1960s as a means to ameliorate the economic standing of individuals who had been suppressed for generations, affirmative action programs in the academic setting have been historically misapplied and now largely work to the detriment of the students who they were intended to benefit. In addition, the policies have, in some degree, been co-opted by party politics and have been the subject of several high profile legal battles. The cases, which generally challenge race-conscious admissions policies on the grounds that they violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, have thus far been resolved by finding the policies to be constitutional. However, the Supreme Court’s precedent in this area of law continues to evolve and the fact that the Court routinely agrees to hear educational affirmative action cases suggests that the Court does not view the body of law to be settled.Legality aside, race-based affirmative action programs in many cases actually end up benefiting minorities of substantial means, instead of the underprivileged applicants that the programs were originally intended for. In addition, colleges and universities are willfully obtuse to the many challenges facing low-income applicants, which further benefits applicants from middle to upper income families. If colleges and universities were to adopt admissions policies that provided applicants with supplemental consideration based upon a finding of economic need rather than simply looking at an applicant’s race, they would not only provide a benefit to deserving individual applicants but would simultaneously promote a more robust academic experience for their entire student body. In addition, policies that provide favorable consideration to economically challenged individuals may actually help to improve race relations throughout the country as members of the minority community may finally begin to see the change that they yearn for while also lessening the resentment felt by some members of the white community for doing away with what they view as being a discriminatory social policy. However, simply changing the focus of college admissions offices will only solve one of the problems facing underprivileged applicants. Substandard public schools, confusing and chronically underfunded government assistance programs, and prohibitive, ever increasing costs of attendance are also major entrance barriers for many low-income students that should also be addressed.
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Carnevale, Anthony P.; Rose, Stephen (Center on Education and the Workforce, 2003-05-30)Seeks to expand the traditional debate over race and ethnicity in admissions to selective colleges by analyzing the issue of whether low-income students should benefit from affirmative action policies. Anthony Carnevale ...