Poor, the Graduation Gap Is Even Wider Than the Enrollment Gap
June 2, 2015
Rich and poor students don't merely enroll in
college at different rates
; they also complete
it at different rates. The graduation gap is even wider than the enrollment
In 2002, researchers with the
National Center for Education Statistics started tracking a cohort of 15,000
high school sophomores. The project, called the Education Longitudinal Study
information about the students' academic achievement, college entry, work
history and college graduation. A recent publication
completed education of these young people, who are now in their late 20s.
The study divided students into
four equally sized groups, or quartiles, depending on their parents' education,
income and occupation. The students in the lowest quartile had parents with the
lowest income and education, more likely to work in unskilled jobs.
Those in the highest quartile had
parents with the highest income and education, those more likely to be
professionals or managers.
In both groups, most of the
teenagers had high hopes for college.
Over all, more than 70 percent
planned to earn a bachelor's degree. In the top quartile, 87 percent expected to
get at least a bachelor's, with 24 percent aiming for an advanced degree.
In the bottom quartile, 58
percent of students expected to get at least a bachelor's degree and 12 percent
to go on to graduate school.
Thirteen years later, we can see
who achieved their goals.
Among the participants from the
most disadvantaged families, just 14 percent had earned a bachelor's degree.
That is, one out of four of the
disadvantaged students who had hoped to get a bachelor's had done so. Among
those from the most advantaged families, 60 percent had earned a bachelor's,
about two-thirds of those who had planned to.
Seeing these numbers, some
readers may wonder whether the poor children were simply overconfident, with
aspirations outstripping their academic skills. Maybe the low-income children
weren't completing college because they were not able.
Post a Comment