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ERIC Number: ED471162
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Oct
Pages: 44
Abstractor: N/A
Who Goes to College? Differential Enrollment by Race and Family Background. NBER Working Paper Series.
Black, Sandra E.; Sufi, Amir
While trends in college enrollment for Blacks and Whites have been the subject of study for many years, little attention has been paid to variation in college enrollment by socioeconomic status (SES). It is well documented that, controlling for family background, Blacks are more likely to enroll in college than Whites. This relationship is somewhat deceptive, however. Upon closer examination, results find that Blacks are more likely to enroll in college than their white counterparts only among low-SES individuals. Among high-SES individuals, this pattern is reversed. Results also find that this relationship is strongest in the 1970s and appears to disappear over time. By the 1990s, blacks are no more likely to attend college than whites at any end of the SES distribution. This study documents this phenomenon, then attempts to understand what is driving these differences across the distribution of family background characteristics, and why the relationship is changing over time. Although they have a significant impact on college enrollment behavior, tuition costs and local labor markets explain very little of racial differences in college entry. The study uncovers different responses to tuition and labor markets by individuals from different ends of the SES distribution, an important consideration for policies targeted at improving college enrollment for low-SES individuals. (Contains 13 references.) (SM)
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-868-3900; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
IES Cited: ED506465