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The Socioeconomic Gap in University Dropouts

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  • Vignoles Anna F

    ()
    (Institute of Education, University of London)

  • Powdthavee Nattavudh

    ()
    (University of York)

Abstract

In many countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., there is ongoing concern about the extent to which young people from lower-income backgrounds can acquire a university degree. Recent evidence from the U.K. suggests that for a given level of prior achievement in secondary school a disadvantaged student has as much chance of enrolling in a university as a more advantaged student. However, simply participating in higher education is not sufficient—graduation is important. Therefore, this paper investigates whether students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have a higher rate of university dropout when compared to their wealthier counterparts, allowing for their differential prior achievement. Using a combination of school and university administrative data sets, we show that there is indeed a sizeable and statistically significant gap in the rate of withdrawal after the first year of university between advantaged and disadvantaged English students. This socioeconomic gap in university dropouts remains even after allowing for their personal characteristics, prior achievement in secondary school and university characteristics. In the English context, at least, this implies that retention in university of disadvantaged students is arguably a more important policy issue than barriers to entry for these students.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 1-36

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:19

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Web page: http://www.degruyter.com

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Cited by:
  1. Maria Eduarda Tannuri Pianto & Andrew Francis, 2011. "The Redistributive Efficacy Ofaffirmative Action: Exploring The Role Of Race And Socioeconomic Statusin College Admissions," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 218, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  2. Chowdry, Haroon & Crawford, Claire & Dearden, Lorraine & Goodman, Alissa & Vignoles, Anna, 2010. "Widening Participation in Higher Education: Analysis Using Linked Administrative Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Francis, Andrew M. & Tannuri-Pianto, Maria, 2012. "The redistributive equity of affirmative action: Exploring the role of race, socioeconomic status, and gender in college admissions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 45-55.
  4. Tommaso Agasisti & Samuele Murtinu, 2013. "Are we wasting public money? No! The effects of grants on Italian university students’ performances," Working Papers 2013/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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