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A Longitudinal Perspective on Higher Education Participation in the UK

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  • Javier Valbuena

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Abstract

This paper is based on the first seven waves of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) that allow us to follow a recent cohort of pupils from age 14 through to Higher Education (HE) participation at age 19/20. Therefore, our approach involves using rich individual data that have been linked to school level information and geographic markers to examine some of the factors determining HE participation for individuals who were in Year 11 in 2005/06 and who could therefore first enter HE in 2008/2009. Our results indicate that differences in HE participation (including studying a science degree and attending prestigious universities) between students coming from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds are large and that much of the socio-economic gap in HE participation rates is driven by particularly low participation rates for students at the bottom of the income distribution. However, when we introduce controls for prior educational attainment, student’s expectations towards university, academic results during secondary schooling and type of school attended these gaps in participation are substantially reduced. Our analysis suggests that one of the main challenges to widening participation for pupils from poorer socio-economic backgrounds is early policy interventions at, say, age 11 as they are likely to have an im portant effect in HE participation. Also, relatively later intervention (at ages 14 to 16) aiming at improving educational aspirations of teenagers and targeting better GCSEs results will further close the gap.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.ukc.ac.uk/pub/ejr/RePEc/ukc/ukcedp/1215.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Kent in its series Studies in Economics with number 1215.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:1215

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Postal: Department of Economics, University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP
Phone: +44 (0)1227 764000
Fax: +44 (0)1227 827850
Web page: http://www.ukc.ac.uk/economics/

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Keywords: Education inequality; family background; higher education;

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  1. 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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  3. Arnaud Chevalier & Gavan Conlon, 2003. "Does it pay to attend a prestigious university?," CEE Discussion Papers 0033, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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  7. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
  8. Iftikhar Hussain & Sandra McNally & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2009. "University Quality and Graduate Wages in the UK," CEE Discussion Papers 0099, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  9. Jo Blanden, 2004. "Family Income and Educational Attainment: A Review of Approaches and Evidence for Britain," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 245-263, Summer.
  10. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2004. "Educational Inequality and the Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 230-249, 05.
  12. Steve Machin & Anna Vignoles, 2004. "Educational inequality: the widening socio-economic gap," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 107-128, June.
  13. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Sloane, Peter J. & O'Leary, Nigel C., 2004. "The Return to a University Education in Great Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 1199, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2010. "Differences by Degree: Evidence of the Net Financial Rates of Return to Undergraduate Study for England and Wales," IZA Discussion Papers 5254, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Oscar Marcenaro & Anna Vignoles, 2004. "The Widening Socio-Economic Gap in UK Higher Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0044, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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