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Why Are Youth from Lower-income Families Less Likely to Attend University? Evidence from Academic Abilities, Parental Influences, and Financial Constraints

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  • Frenette, Marc

Abstract

In this study, I use new Canadian data containing detailed information on academic abilities, parental influences, financial constraints, and other socio-economic background characteristics of youth to try to account for the large gap in university attendance across the income distribution. I find that 96% of the total gap in university attendance between youth from the top and bottom income quartiles can be accounted for by differences in observable characteristics. Differences in long-term factors such as standardized test scores in reading obtained at age 15, school marks reported at age 15, parental influences, and high-school quality account for 84% of the gap. In contrast, only 12% of the gap is related to financial constraints. Similar results hold across different income quartiles and when I use standardized test scores in mathematics and science. However, reading scores account for a larger proportion of the gap than other test scores.

Suggested Citation

  • Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Youth from Lower-income Families Less Likely to Attend University? Evidence from Academic Abilities, Parental Influences, and Financial Constraints," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007295e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2007295e
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuelle Bourbeau & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2011. "Provincial Returns to Education for 21 to 35 year-olds: Results from the 1991-2006 Canadian Analytic Censuses Files," Cahiers de recherche 1106, CIRPEE.
    2. Philippe Belley & Marc Frenette & Lance Lochner, 2011. "Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income in the U.S. and Canada: What Role for Financial Aid Policy?," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20113, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
    3. Paul Frijters & Luo Chuliang & Xin Meng, 2012. "Child Education and the Family Income Gradient in China," Discussion Papers Series 470, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    4. Philippe Belley & Marc Frenette & Lance Lochner, 2010. "Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income: Comparing the U.S. and Canada," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20103, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    5. Frenette, Marc & Zeman, Klarka, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    6. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2008. "Family Background, Family Income, Cognitive Tests Scores, Behavioural Scales and their Relationship with Post-secondary Education Participation: Evidence from the NLSCY," Cahiers de recherche 0830, CIRPEE.
    7. Colin Busby, 2010. "Manitoba’s Demographic Challenge: Why Improving Aboriginal Education Outcomes Is Vital for Economic Prosperity," e-briefs 99, C.D. Howe Institute.
    8. Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2011. "Loan Aversion among Canadian High School Students," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-67, CIRANO.

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    Keywords

    Children and youth; Education finance; Education; training and learning; Educational attainment; Literacy; Low income families;

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