GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

May 2008


Over the past four decades, policymakers have developed numerous policies and programs with the goal of increasing college enrollment. A simple Google search of the phrase "college access program" generates 226,000,000 hits. Entering the same terms into the search engine on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site generates 500 hits.

Despite the apparent plentitude of policies and programs, however, college access and choice for recent high school graduates remain stratified by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity (Thomas & Perna, 2004). Young people from low-income families and whose parents have not attended college, as well as those of African American and Hispanic descent, are less likely than other young people to enroll in college. When they do enroll, these students find themselves concentrated in lower-priced institutions, such as public two-year colleges and less-selective four-year colleges and universities (Baum & Payea, 2004; Ellwood & Kane, 2000; National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2003, 2004; Thomas & Perna, 2004).


Reprinted with permission. Reprinted from Journal of Higher Education, Volume 79, Issue 3, May 2008, pages 243-267.



Date Posted: 30 April 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.