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http://ssrn.com/abstract=347082
 
 

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Who Goes to College? Differential Enrollment by Race and Family Background


Sandra E. Black


Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Amir Sufi


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; NBER

November 2002

NBER Working Paper No. w9310

Abstract:     
While trends in college enrollment for blacks and whites have been the subject of study for a number of years, little attention has been paid to the variation in college enrollment by socioeconomic status (SES). It is well documented that, controlling for family background, blacks are more likely to enroll in college than whites. This relationship is somewhat deceptive, however. Upon closer examination, we find that blacks are more likely to enroll in college than their white counterparts only among low-SES individuals. Among high SES individuals, this pattern is reversed. We also find that this relationship is strongest in the 1970s and appears to disappear over time; by the 1990s, blacks are no more likely to attend college than whites at any end of the SES distribution. This paper first documents this phenomenon and then attempts to understand what is driving these differences across the distribution of family background characteristics and why the relationship is changing over time. Although they have a significant impact on college enrollment behavior, tuition costs and local labor markets explain very little of racial differences in college entry. We do uncover different responses to tuition and labor markets by individuals from different ends of the SES distribution, an important consideration for policies targeted at improving college enrollment for low-SES individuals.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

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Date posted: November 7, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Black, Sandra E. and Sufi, Amir, Who Goes to College? Differential Enrollment by Race and Family Background (November 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9310. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=347082

Contact Information

Sandra E. Black (Contact Author)
Department of Economics ( email )
University of Texas, Austin
Austin, TX 78712
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics
Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

Amir Sufi
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
NBER
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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