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OPINION: Why college majors are another form of implicit bias in higher education


What if higher education isn’t the “great equalizer” after all?

According to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data, higher education may not only reflect but also exacerbate racial inequities. Black college graduates in their thirties still have a significantly lower median net worth than their white counterparts who did not attend college.

What’s worse — thanks to a combination of rising student debt, slower income growth and a pernicious wealth gap along racial lines — Black millennial graduates have actually lost ground over the last three decades relative to their white peers.

The analysis adds to our growing understanding of just how unequal career outcomes are for Black college graduates. Black grads earn less than their white peers at every level of education attainment. Outcomes are even worse for Black women, who face not only racial bias but gender discrimination. Despite significant gains in postsecondary attainment, Black women are far less represented in the workplace, paid less and less likely to be promoted throughout their careers.

These disparities stem, in part, from the fact that not all colleges, programs and majors are created equal when it comes to driving economic mobility. White students are overrepresented in the handful of selective institutions that […]

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