As Professor Glenn Reynolds notes, this is despite all the diversity twaddle.

Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed reports.

Higher Ed: Engine of Inequity

From Horace Mann to President Obama, and legions of politicians and educators in between, education has been heralded as the great equalizer, an institution that can balance (if not undo) racial, ethnic or other inequities that separate segments of society.

If higher education in the United States ever fulfilled that role, it is doing so less and less, not more, as time passes.

That is the stark and in many ways distressing conclusion of a report released today by researchers at Georgetown University: “Separate and Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege.”

The report’s assertion that African-American and Latino youth — especially those from low-income backgrounds — are underrepresented at the nation’s 468 most selective four-year colleges and overrepresented at the 3,250 open-access two- and four-year institutions will probably surprise few; that’s a circumstance of long standing.

But it surprised even the lead researcher, Anthony Carnevale, a grizzled expert on educational access and equity, to find that the situation steadily worsened from 1994 to 2009 — even, importantly, when comparing minority and white students with similar academic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Rather than function to reverse gaps generated by inequities in K-12 education and housing and health, Carnevale says, higher education is now serving as a “capstone” that exacerbates those other mechanisms.

“The postsecondary system mimics and magnifies the racial and ethnic inequality in educational preparation it inherits from the K-12 system and then projects this inequality into the labor market,” write Carnevale and his co-author, Jeff Strohl. Carnevale is director, and Strohl director of research, of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.