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Racial equity can be defined as "the condition that would be achieved if one's race identity no longer influenced how one fares." (from "Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture" by Equity in the Center). This collection focuses on racial equity and also includes works that explore the larger diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) framework. Our aim is to raise awareness about funding for racial equity efforts as well as activities in the social sector meant to realize racial equity. The collection is part of Candid's Funding for racial equity special issue website.

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"Endless Walk!" by Rayhane saber licensed through Unsplash

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Race, Elite College Admissions, and the Courts: The Pursuit of Racial Equality in Education Retreats to K–12 Schools

June 12, 2023

If the Supreme Court bans race-conscious affirmative action, as expected, selective higher education institutions almost certainly will become less diverse, reducing the rates of degree attainment among students from historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. This report explores the legal history of racial equity in education, evaluates alternatives to using race/ethnicity in college admissions, and considers changes to the K–12 education system that would improve educational opportunity. In the long term, the only way to ensure diversity at selective higher education institutions is to confront the segregation and inequity in K–12 education and society at large.

Race-Conscious Affirmative Action: What's Next

March 27, 2023

An expected national ban on the consideration of race in college admissions will threaten the racial and ethnic diversity of students at selective colleges unless these colleges fundamentally alter their admissions practices. Race-Conscious Affirmative Action: What's Next finds that selective colleges barred from considering race and ethnicity in their admissions decisions may be able to partially claw back some racial/ethnic diversity using class-conscious admissions practices, but they will be extremely unlikely to enroll student bodies that come close to mirroring the demographic diversity of the high school class.

Race, Ethnicity, and the Design of State Grant Aid Programs

January 26, 2023

Most states use need-based state grant programs to reduce financial barriers to college for students from low-income households. The policy design and eligibility requirements of these grant programs vary from state to state and even across sectors. But some policies may unintentionally disproportionately exclude students from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups.In this report, we analyze data on students who attend college in their state of legal residence and examine how the characteristics of need-based state grant programs affect students from different racial and ethnic groups. We focus on 11 states with significant need-based grant programs and examine both program structure and the distribution of aid among students from different racial and ethnic groups. We find that some of the eligibility restrictions for state grants, including those based on time part-time enrollment, time since high school graduation, and high school academic record, may have differential impacts by race and ethnicity.The data show that differences in aid receipt are not as large or as prevalent as one might expect, but in some states, Black, Hispanic, or Asian students are less likely than others in similar financial circumstances to receive state grant aid. These differences usually do not occur within the public four-year sector but occur either among public two-year college students or among college students overall. Another significant issue is the relatively small share of state grant aid going to students attending public two-year colleges, which tend to enroll relatively large shares of Black and Hispanic students.Each state has a unique program design for need-based aid, and both student demographics and enrollment patterns vary considerably among states, so the most effective policies will differ from state to state. If states want to ensure inclusivity in their need-based state grant programs, they would be well advised to examine their policies for differential impacts by race and ethnicity.

The Cost of Economic and Racial Injustice in Postsecondary Education

May 11, 2021

In partnership with the Postsecondary Value Commission, we conducted a thought experiment on the costs of inequality in the US education system. Our simulation found that the US economy misses out on $956 billion per year, along with numerous nonmonetary benefits, as a result of postsecondary attainment gaps by economic status and race/ethnicity. The Cost of Economic and Racial Injustice in Postsecondary Education finds that closing these gaps would require an initial public investment of at least $3.97 trillion, but the benefits would outweigh the costs over time. Equalizing educational attainment without increasing student debt for low-income adults could also boost GDP by a total of $764 billion annually.

Structural Equity: Big-Picture Thinking & Partnerships That Improve Community College Student Outcomes

June 22, 2016

While access to higher education has grown considerably for low-income students and students of color over the past decades, the rates at which those students succeed in completing or transferring to a four-year university remain low and have been slow to improve. This report describes how four successful community colleges have cultivated robust, cross-sector partnerships to create seamless educational pathways for students, and highlights three specific strategies the institutions have used to help eliminate structural barriers that perpetuate student success gaps along racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines. Development of this guide was supported by the Lumina Foundation.