Asian Americans, Admissions, College Choice: An Empirical Test of Claims of Harm Used in Federal Investigations

Published Online in:
Educational Researcher
August 24, 2020

Mike Hoa Nguyen, University of Denver
Connie Y. Chang, University of California, Los Angeles
Victoria KimUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Rose Ann E. GutierrezUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Annie Le, University of California, Los Angeles
Dennis DumasUniversity of Denver​
Robert T. TeranishiUniversity of California, Los Angeles

The Coalition of Asian American Associations (CAAA) and Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE), two small but vocal groups of Asian Americans, have argued against affirmative action practices. One of their more prominent claims is that Asian American applicants who are not accepted and do not attend their first-choice colleges face a multitude of negative consequences; a claim that has become the impetus for the current U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into the college admissions process at a number of universities. This study empirically tests the claims made by CAAA (2015) and AACE (2016) with particular attention to the differences in Asian American student outcomes, relative to their college admissions and choice decisions. Our findings indicate a limited, if any, statistical difference between Asian American groups that attend differing choice institutions.

Read the full open-access article

Read the press release: "Claims that Asian American Students Are Harmed When They Cannot Attend Their First-Choice University Helped Lead to Federal Investigations of Admissions Practices at Harvard and Yale; New Research Contradicts Those Assertions​.