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ERIC Number: EJ918458
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0734-6670
College Admission in a Contested Marketplace: The 20th Century and a New Logic for Access
Kimball, Ezekiel
Journal of College Admission, n210 p20-30 Win 2011
The premise of this work is simple: the history of college admission since World War II is a consumer history. The way in which this history unfolds is far more complex. College admission is a contested good. It is simultaneously a consumable good (students purchase a college education for personal and familial reasons) and a social good (various governments and eleemosynary organizations pursue a variety of funding strategies to achieve desired enrollment patterns for specific social ends). In this same market, however, colleges are at once producer and consumer. They are producers in the sense that they offer the college education that students consume. Yet, the colleges are consumers when they compete against one another for students--a scarce input (particularly when speaking of highly-talented students) that allows the college to compete in secondary markets tied to prestige. In this formulation of the market, students have increasingly come to see themselves as producers who can package their saleable product (their future academic and professional selves) in order to achieve optimal outcomes. Likewise, while government and eleemosynary organizations can be thought of as consumers when they act to achieve specific social ends, they are also producers who sometimes benefit from the sale of things like student loans, the marketing of college preparation products and the administration of standardized tests. The process of college admission thus exists in a highly-contested marketplace. Given the complexity of the marketplace, the way in which assumptions about college admission are articulated through government policy becomes particularly important. Further, given that much of the government aid provided to students historically has come from student loans, the history of college admission since World War II is inextricably linked to the growth of a credit culture. To a very real extent, it is the profound influence of the credit culture and not government action that has created the modern admission marketplace. (Contains 1 figure and 13 footnotes.)
National Association for College Admission Counseling. 1631 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2818. Tel: 800-822-6285; Tel: 703-836-2222; Fax: 703-836-8015; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A