Is 'First in Family' a Good Indicator for Widening University Participation?

44 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2019

See all articles by Anna Adamecz-Völgyi

Anna Adamecz-Völgyi

University College London - UCL Institute of Education

Morag Henderson

University College London - UCL Institute of Education

Dominique Shure

University College London

Abstract

Universities use 'first in family' or 'first generation' as an indicator to increase the diversity of their student intake, but little is known about whether it is a good indicator of disadvantage. We use nationally representative, longitudinal survey data linked to administrative data from England to provide the first comprehensive analysis of this measure. We employ parametric probability (logit) and non-parametric classification (random forest) models to look at its relative predictive power of university participation and graduation. We find that being first in family is an important barrier to university participation and graduation, over and above other sources of disadvantage. This association seems to operate through the channel of early educational attainment. Our findings indicate that the first in family indicator could be key in efforts to widen participation at universities.

Keywords: socioeconomic gaps, higher education, widening participation, first in family, first generation, educational mobility, machine learning, predictive models

JEL Classification: I23, I24, J24

Suggested Citation

Adamecz-Völgyi, Anna and Henderson, Morag and Shure, Dominique, Is 'First in Family' a Good Indicator for Widening University Participation?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12826, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3510437

Anna Adamecz-Völgyi (Contact Author)

University College London - UCL Institute of Education

20 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom

Morag Henderson

University College London - UCL Institute of Education

20 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom

Dominique Shure

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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