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Where College-Bound Students Send Their SAT Scores: Does Race Matter?


  • *This article is based on confidential data protected by federal and Texas law. Those wishing to use this data for replication purposes should send a proposal to the Director of the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas, Mail Station GC21, PO Box 830688, Richardson, TX 75083-0688. I would like to thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for generous support of this research, as well as the late John F. Kain, Daniel M. O'Brien, Paul Jargowsky, David L. Sjoquist, Ben P. Scafidi, Julie L. Hotchkiss, Thomas J. Kane, Robert K. Toutkoushian, seminar participants at the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, and anonymous referees for their helpful comments. Any errors that remain are my own.

M. Kathleen Thomas, Department of Finance and Economics, Mississippi State University, PO Box 9580, Mississippi State, MS 39762


Objective. I examine where Texas students send their SAT scores in 1998 to identify their revealed preferences for higher education and determine if race/ethnicity influences their decision.

Methods. Using data from the Texas Schools Microdata Panel, I estimate the influence of race/ethnicity on various college choice sets using a multinomial logit model.

Results. The empirical estimation indicates that minorities perceive their opportunities at Texas public institutions to be different from whites. Furthermore, although blacks and Hispanics are less likely than whites to send their SAT scores to selective Texas institutions, they are more likely to send their scores to selective institutions out of state.

Conclusion. Although the reasons for this are currently unclear, a possible suspect is the Hopwood v. Texas decision, a court ruling ending affirmative action initiatives in the admissions decisions of all Texas public colleges and universities.