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This paper describes recent patterns of income stratification in American colleges. Data from the Current Population Survey provide estimates of college enrollment stratification by income during the period 1970-1988. The National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 and the High School and Beyond survey provide data for two cohorts on the relationships between family income and college graduation. Time trends indicate that for each income quintile, the fraction of youth enrolled in private colleges increased modestly but steadily from the early 1970s through the late 1980s. The fraction of youth in public colleges showed little change during the 1970s, but during the early 1980s the poor lost ground while the rich gained ground. In the late 1980s, public college enrollments strongly increased for all income groups. The distribution of enrollments in 2-year institutions is close to equal across income groups; the inequality is concentrated in four-year institutions. Although enrollments are stratified by income in both public and private four-year colleges, more stratification occurs in the private four-year colleges. Roughly half of all youth who enroll in college do not obtain a bachelor's degree. The recipiency of a degree is more stratified by income than is college enrollment. Contains five references and an appendix that provides data from the annual October Current Population Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau. (Author/GLR)

Descriptors: Academic Persistence, College Bound Students, Colleges, Comparative Analysis, Enrollment Trends, Family Income, High Schools, Higher Education, Longitudinal Studies, Postsecondary Education, Private Schools, Public Schools, Secondary School Students, Socioeconomic Influences, Surveys, Trend Analysis, Universities

Autor: Manski, Charles F.


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