Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Economics (ECON)

First Advisor

Graham Beattie


After the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case in 1954, it would make sense to assume that Black students and white students would have equal access to the same levels of educational attainment. However, research shows that Black students still graduate high school at disproportionate levels as compared to their white counterparts. This paper analyzes this issue of education inequality specifically through the lens of times of economic hardship to determine whether or not Black students experience disproportionately lower levels of educational attainment during times of economic downturn. I respond to this issue by using data from the Census and the Annual Survey of School System Finances to analyze the impact that race, income, and per pupil spending levels have on high school graduation rates during times of economic hardship and economic prosperity. I argue, and find it to be true, that race will be the most influential factor in determining high school graduation rates during times of economic downturn due to the fact that Black individuals are not treated equally in the rest of our society which equates to unequal educational opportunities.