Admissions Lotteries at Selective Colleges Might Dramatically Reduce the Enrollment of Students of Color, Low-Income Students, and Men
Admissions Lotteries at Selective Colleges Might Dramatically Reduce the Enrollment of Students of Color, Low-Income Students, and Men
 
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Educational Researcher
November 3, 2021

Dominique J. Baker, Southern Methodist University
Michael N. Bastedo, University of Michigan

Many prominent social scientists have advocated for random-draw lotteries as a solution to the “problem” of elite college admissions. They argue that lotteries will be fair, equitable, eliminate corruption, reduce student anxiety, restore democratic ideals, and end debates over race-conscious admissions. In response, we simulate potential lottery effects on student enrollment by race, gender, and income, using robust simulation methods and multiple minimum thresholds for grades and standardized tests. In the overwhelming majority of lottery simulations, the proportions of low-income students and students of color drop precipitously. With a GPA minimum, we find the proportion of men could drop as low as one third. Admissions lotteries with minimum bars for GPA and/or standardized tests do not appear to produce more equitable outcomes.

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Read the press release: Study: Admissions Lotteries at Selective Colleges Might Dramatically Reduce the Enrollment of Students of Color, Low-Income Students, and Men

Study citation: Baker, D. J., and Bastedo, M. N. (2021). What if we leave it up to chance? Admissions lotteries and equitable access at selective colleges. Educational Researcher. Prepublished November 3, 2021. doi.org/10.3102/0013189X211055494.

 
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