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Race, Income, and College in 25 Years: Evaluating Justice O'Connor's Conjecture

  • Author(s): Krueger, Alan
  • Rothstein, Jesse M
  • Turner, Sarah
  • et al.
Abstract

In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), Justice Sandra Day O’Connor conjectured that in 25 years affirmative action in college admissions will be unnecessary. We project the test score distribution of black and white college applicants 25 years from now, focusing on the role of black-white family income gaps. Economic progress alone is unlikely to narrow the achievement gap enough in 25 years to produce today’s racial diversity levels with race-blind admissions. A return to the rapid black-white test score convergence of the 1980s could plausibly cause black representation to approach current levels at moderately selective schools, but not at the most selective schools.

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