A Temporal Investigation of College Attendance and Destinations of First Generation Students

Sigal Alon, Tel Aviv University
Marta Tienda, Princeton University

This paper uses two national datasets to assess temporal changes in college attendance and destinations of first generation high school graduates between 1982 and 1992. We show that the increased likelihood of first-generation college attendance was not restricted to 2-year institutions, but also involved 4-year institutions, including selective colleges and universities. The results suggest that although all first generation students benefited from the expansion of higher education, students from different groups were “channeled” to different destinations. While first generation white and Asian students enjoyed improved chances to attend the more competitive destinations, Hispanic first generation students’ rise in attendance rate was mostly limited to 2-year and 4-year non-competitive institutions. Because these trends are especially pertinent to immigrant states, we use data from Texas to illustrate the pipeline from high school educational aspirations to actual college destinations.

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Presented in Session 37: Racial Differentials in Schooling and Occupations