Clearly class is a powerful cross-cutting factor in explaining postsecondary differences among all students. Yet, controlling for income, race matters: taken together, lower-income AfricanAmerican and Hispanic students just don't do as well as lower-income whites. We find that white students (45%) in the lower half of the family income distribution drop out of college much less frequently than African Americans (55%) and Hispanics (59%).
These lower-income whites get Bachelor's degrees at nearly twice the rate of African Americans and Hispanics and obtain many fewer sub-baccalaureate degrees. In particular, African-American students get substantially more certificates.
Class and race overlap and are most virulent in combination. Along with many other researchers, we find that the reason for persistent racial inequality begins with the fact that African Americans and Hispanics seem to face barriers not faced by whites.
Unequal educational and career outcomes for economically disadvantaged whites can be explained with variables like family income, parental education, and peer expectations. These same variables do not fullyexplain African American and Hispanic educational and economic outcomes. Earlier research shows income effects are more fully explained by observable things, like peer group and tutoring, while differences by race are not so easy to pin down. The preponderance of evidence supports the premise that the disadvantages of race and income must be considered separately in most cases. Yes, differences in readiness and income explain differences in academic and life outcomes; but, independently, so do race and ethnicity.