Recruitment Redlining by Public Research Universities in the Los Angeles and Dallas Metropolitan Areas

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Given racial inequality in the United States is grounded in policies and practices that have historically governed where People of Color live, where colleges go and do not go to recruit prospective students may be an important source of racial inequality in college access. This study examines the spatial distribution of out-of-state recruiting visits to public high schools in the Los Angeles and Dallas metropolitan areas by four public research universities. I develop a conceptual framework that incorporates concepts from critical geography and whiteness as property (Harris, 1993) to ground recruiting visits within each metropolitan areas’ sociohistorical spatial politcs. Descriptive statistics and geospatial visualizations reveal that schools in White communities are more likely to receive a recruiting visit, receive multiple visits by each university, and receive visits by more than one university than schools in Communities of Color with comparable income and educational achievement characteristics. Findings also suggest that universities in the study engage in “recruitment redlining”—the circuitous avoidance of predominantly Black and Latinx communities along recruiting visit paths—by mimicking systemic relations of power and racism within geographic space that contribute to the social, economic, and educational disenfranchisement of Communities of Color.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-621
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Higher Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • College access
  • enrollment management
  • geography of college opportunity
  • recruiting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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