College Education and the Poor in China: Documenting the Hurdles to Educational Attainment and College Matriculation
Asia Pacific Education Review, Vol. 12 No. 4, page(s) 533–546
Posted: 9 Apr 2013
Date Written: December 1, 2011
Although universities have expanded in size, it is unclear if the poor have benefited. If there are high returns to college education, then increasing access of the poor to college has important welfare implications. The objective of this paper is to document the rates of enrollment into college of the poor and to identify the hurdles to doing so. Relying on several sets of data, including a survey of college students from universities in three poor provinces in China, we have found that the college matriculation rate of the poor is substantially lower than students from non-poor families; the same is true for rural women and minorities. Clearly, there are barriers that are keeping the rural poor out. The paper also demonstrates that the real hurdles are not during the years of secondary schooling or at the time of admissions to college. The real impediments keeping the rural poor from pursuing a college education arise long before high school — as early as preschool and elementary school years — and are present throughout the entire schooling system.
Keywords: Education, Asia-Pacific, China
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