Equity in Action: Estimating the Association Between Funding, Expenditures, Tuition, and Affirmative Action Case Law on Enrollment and Completion Rates at Selective Colleges
I conduct a series of analyses aimed at assessing equity in selective American colleges over a 20+ year time frame. My main measures of equity are enrollment and completion in selective colleges, which I disaggregate by race/ethnicity. After creating an institutional-level panel data set with variables on college revenues and expenses, tuition, institutional control, and affirmative action case law decisions, I estimate a Generalized Least Squares (GLS) model with institutional level random fixed effects to identify factors associated with enrollment and degree completion for white and non-white students at selective United States colleges. My results suggest that affirmative action case law is associated with changes in enrollment and degree completion rates of white and non-white student alike. Increasing equity for non-white students does not compromise equity for white students. There was a statistically significant relationship between federal spending, enrollment, and degree completion for non-white students. When selective colleges increased tuition, instructional costs, academic support services expenditures, and student support services, Asian American/Pacific Islander students were likely to see enrollment and degree completion declines. Degree completion and enrollment differences were observed for Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and white students at public, private and for-profit colleges. In the years after the Adams and Hopwood court decisions, equity for non-white students declined at selective colleges. Enrollment and degree completion for non-white students increased following Grutter, Gratz, Coalition, and Fisher decisions. Enrollment of white students increased following Fordice and Hopwood. Degree completion for white students increased post Coalition and decreased post Fisher.