New Report: Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 2017

Posted by Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education on August 28, 2017

In 2004 and 2005, the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education (Pell Institute), sponsored by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), published two editions of Indicators of Opportunity in Higher Education. In 2015 and 2016, we renewed the commitment to documenting trends in higher education equity by publishing an expanded trend report and initiating the Shared Solutions Dialogues. The current publication, Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 2017, directly follows on these earlier efforts. This publication brings together again in partnership the Pell Institute with the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) of the University of Pennsylvania. Both organizations have a core mission to promote a more open, equitable, and democratic system of higher education within the United States. The Pell Institute, with its historical and ongoing ties to the federal TRIO programs, has a special mission to promote more equitable opportunity for low-income and first-generation students, and students with disabilities.

Purposes of the Report. The purposes of this equity indicators project are to:
• Report the status of higher education equity in the United States and identify changes over time in measures of equity;
• Identify policies and practices that promote and hinder progress; and
• Illustrate the need for increased support of policies, programs, and practices that not only improve overall attainment in higher education but also create greater equity in higher education opportunity and outcomes.

Focus on Inequities. The 2015 Indicators Report focused on equity in higher education based on measures of family income. Family income remains the primary focus of the 2017 edition. Recognizing the need to also address inequity based on other interrelated demographic characteristics, the 2016 and 2017 editions include selected indicators that highlight differences by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES), an index comprised of family income, parents’ education, and parents’ occupation developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

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