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High school grades, admissions policies, and the gender gap in college enrollment

Economics of Education Review Volume 46, Number 1, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The female advantage in college enrollment and completion has generated concern among university officials and sparked debate about gender-conscious college admissions. There are a number of explanations for this increasing gender imbalance on college campuses. This paper focuses on the role played by admissions policies that base decisions solely on applicants’ high school grades. Given that females earn higher grades than males, such policies can contribute to growing female shares in admissions. To exemplify this trend, I use publicly-available data from Texas to show that the Texas Top 10% plan, which guarantees public university admission to students who graduate in the top decile of their high school class, led to an increase in the female share of accepted students. The increase was particularly large among black students, where the female share of admitted students was already highest among the major racial/ethnic groups.


Conger, D. (2015). High school grades, admissions policies, and the gender gap in college enrollment. Economics of Education Review, 46(1), 144-147. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 24, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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