Students From High-Income Families Attain College Degrees At Far Higher Rates Than Students From Low-Income Families

The social and economic benefits of a college degree are well-known.  At the individual level, people with college degrees have higher lifetime earnings, lower unemployment and poverty, better working conditions, longer lives, and better health than those with only a high-school education.  At the societal level, increased college attainment rates translate into a larger tax base, less reliance on social welfare programs, and greater civic and political engagement.  However, as a new report from the Pell Institute for Opportunity in Higher Education demonstrates, higher education outcomes are plagued by profound, persisting inequities.

The report focuses on income-related inequities.  It found that:

  • Compared with students from higher income families, students from lower income families are considerably less likely to participate in post-secondary education.
  • When they do enroll, students from low-income families disproportionately attend two-year rather than four-year institutions, and for-profit post-secondary institutions rather than private not-for-profit institutions.
  • The average net price of attendance at the institutions attended by students from the highest income quartile is growing at a faster rate than at institutions attended by students in the lowest income quartile. This suggests increasing stratification across groups in the types of post-secondary education options that students from different groups can access.
  • Even when only those who enter college are considered, bachelor's degree attainment rates in 2013 were an astonishing 78 percentage points lower for students from lower income families than for students from higher income families.
  • Although gaps in college participation have declined somewhat over time, gaps in bachelor's degree attainment have grown. 



Read more:
http://www.vox.com/2015/2/4/7978481/college-completion-charts
http://www.pellinstitute.org/downloads/publications-Indicators_of_Higher_Education_Equity_in_the_US_45_Year_Trend_Report.pdf

TeachingwithData.org resources:
Economics of Education (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/2916)
Without a High-School Education (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3861)
Men's real hourly wage by education, 1973-2007 (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/2947)
Do Blacks Earn Less than Whites and Why? (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3162)
Women's Education (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3104)
Education and Earnings: Does Education Pay? (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3107)
Education in America (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3124)
Exploring Education Attainment of U.S. Native-born and Foreign-born (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3131)
The Value of College (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3866)
Frederique Laubepin

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