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Assessing the Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in Higher Education

California State University, Sacramento

This research examines the determinants of the match between high school seniors and postsecondary institutions in the United States. I model college application decisions as a nonsequential search problem and specify a unified structural model of college application, admission, and matriculation decisions that are all functions of unobservable individual heterogeneity. The results indicate that black and Hispanic representation at all 4‐year colleges is predicted to decline modestly—by 2%—if race‐neutral college admissions policies are mandated nationwide. However, race‐neutral admissions are predicted to decrease minority representation at the most selective 4‐year institutions by 10%.