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The Influence of Wealth and Race in Four-Year College Attendance

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  • Su Jin Jez
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    Abstract

    College is increasingly essential for economic and social mobility. Current research devotes significant attention to race and socioeconomic factors in college access. Yet wealth’s role, as differentiated from income, is largely unexplored. Utilizing a nationally representative dataset, this study analyzes the role of wealth among students who attend four-year colleges. The hypothesis that wealth matters through the provision of differential habitus, social capital, and cultural capital that support the college-going process, is tested through the application of a series of binary logistic regressions. The results indicate that while wealthier students are much more likely to attend a four-year college than their less wealthy peers, the influence of wealth is essentially eliminated once we consider academic achievement, habitus, and social and cultural capital. This indicates that wealthier students garner advantages through increased academic preparation and through the characteristics of their upbringing, such as the type of school attended and parental expectations. Furthermore, controlling for wealth causes the disparities in four-year college attendance associated with race to disappear. Notably, Hispanic students are significantly more likely than white students to attend a four-year college in certain specifications, while black and Asian students are not significantly different from white students in any specification.

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    Paper provided by Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley in its series University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education with number qt0cc2x5tj.

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    Date of creation: 13 Nov 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:cshedu:qt0cc2x5tj

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    Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/cshe/

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    1. David Throsby, 1999. "Cultural Capital," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 3-12, March.
    2. Catharine B. Hill & Gordon C. Winston & Stephanie A. Boyd, 2005. "Affordability: Family Incomes and Net Prices at Highly Selective Private Colleges and Universities," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 769-790.
    3. Monks, James, 2000. "The returns to individual and college characteristics: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 279-289, June.
    4. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating The Payoff To Attending A More Selective College: An Application Of Selection On Observables And Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527, November.
    5. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," NBER Working Papers 2898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2000. "The Relationship Between Family Income and Schooling Attainment: Evidence from a Liberal Arts College with a Full Tuition Subsidy Program," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20008, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    7. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect Of Income On Child Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 261-276, May.
    8. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. John Shea, 1997. "Does Parents' Money Matter?," NBER Working Papers 6026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Maynard, Rebecca A, 1977. "The Effects of the Rural Income Maintenance Experiment on the School Performance of Children," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 370-75, February.
    11. Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
    12. Donald L. Lerman & James J. Mikesell, 1988. "RURAL AND URBAN POVERTY: AN INCOME/NET WORTH APPROACH," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 7(4), pages 765-781, 06.
    13. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
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