Opportunity Insights

Parental Income Segregation Prevents Intergenerational Mobility for College Students

Posted on March 3, 2020

Researchers from Opportunity Insights explored the relationship between college attendance and intergenerational mobility to determine how equalizing college attendance rates could impact long-term outcomes of students from low- or middle-income families. The study showed that selective colleges are highly segregated by parental income, and that students from lower income families are much less likely than their high-income peers to attend these institutions, even with equivalent standardized testing scores. However, students who attend highly selective colleges have higher earning potential and excellent long-term outcomes, regardless of initial parental income. The researchers suggest that increasing the representation of low- and middle-income students in these colleges would enable greater intergenerational mobility. By combating parental income segregation, students from lower income families would have more equitable access to high quality higher education and improvements to their long-term outcomes.

Parental Income Segregation Prevents Intergenerational Mobility for College Students


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