ERIC Number: ED482160
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Nov
Pathways to a Four-Year Degree: Determinants of Degree Completion among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Students.
Cabrera, Alberto F.; Burkum, Kurt R.; La Nasa, Steven M.
The High School Sophomore Cohort of 1980 followed nine different pathways to a 4-year college degree. These paths were formed by a combination of different levels of academic preparation secured in high school and the first type of postsecondary institution attended. The pathway most likely to lead to a 4-year degree is one defined by acquiring high academic resources in high school and entering at a 4-year institution on high school completion. Those who followed this path had a 78% chance of graduating within 11 years. Highest-socioeconomic status (SES) students followed this pathway, resulting in an 81% graduation rate. Not all paths are equally available to all SES groups. Lowest-SES students journeyed on a pathway defined by moderate academic resources and first enrollment in a 2-year institution. Only 3.3% of these students earned a 4-year degree. A 44% SES-based degree completion gap separating lowest-SES students from highest-SES students found using simple descriptive statistics is reduced to 24% when myriad factors are considered simultaneously. Degree completion is most affected by SES, high school-based academic resources, degree aspirations, enrollment patterns, taking college courses in mathematics and science, financial aid, and having children while attending college. (Contains 10 tables and 152 references.) (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Association for Institutional Research.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (Portland, OR, November 13-16, 2003).