ERIC Number: ED370612
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
Response Errors in Reports of Parental Income by Community College Freshmen. Working Paper Series No. 1-94.
Romano, Richard; Moreno, Luis
A study was conducted by New York's Broome Community College (BCC) to compare student-reported parental income with income reported by the students' parents on their 1982 tax records. Student reports of parental income were obtained from a survey administered to students entering BCC in fall 1983. The college had parents' federal income tax records on file for the 126 students from this group who applied for financial aid. Six variables were chosen as being potentially useful in explaining the accuracy of reports of parental income: age, sex, average grade in high school, education of father, occupation of father, and intended major. The sample included only one married and one black student, who were subsequently removed from the sample. Compared with similar studies on the subject, students in the BCC study were more likely to estimate their parents' income accurately: 37.3% checked the accurate income class on the entering-student survey; 29.4% underreported income; and 33.3% overreported it. Over 65% of the respondents were within $6,000 of an accurate response. Accurate responses were more likely to be given by females, students whose fathers had a low job status and/or a high school education or less, students with a B average in high school, and students enrolled in a non-transfer major. The study findings suggested that students who apply for financial aid are more accurate in estimating their parents' income than the general population of students, and that students from disadvantaged backgrounds report more accurately than students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. The most important limitation of this study is that the all-white sample is not representative of the heterogeneous student population of community colleges. (KP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Broome Community Coll., Binghamton, NY. Inst. for Community Coll. Research.