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Bau on the Chilling Effect on College Ambitions

The education news site Chalkbeat spoke to Natalie Bau, associate professor of public policy and economics, about how the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action might affect students applying for college. Bau shared her research on student motivation after Texas lifted its ban on considering race in college admissions two decades ago. The study found that Black and Latino high school students had better school attendance, higher SAT scores and higher grades, and they applied to more colleges because “now it becomes attainable, so it makes sense to put in that extra effort,” she said. Now that the high court has put an end to race-conscious admissions, some students of color might lower their college ambitions. “Underrepresented minority students might reduce their effort in high school and that might result in lower test scores, lower grades, lower attendance and fewer applications to selective institutions,” Bau said. “That might make this under-application problem worse.”


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