22 SES 08 A, Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Settings
Parallel Paper Session
One of the aims of introduction of the Unified state examination of high school graduates (the USE) in Russia in 2009, which has replaced the system of university-specific entry exams, was to increase the accessibility and equity of higher education. It was assumed that under the new institutional settings, students from disadvantaged backgrounds would have more opportunities to be enrolled in universities due to a reduction in expenditures on general and specific investments related to admission (university pre-entry courses, corruption payments etc.), as well as the minimization of transaction costs concerning the application process. However, high school graduates from wealthier households still could have some significant advantages, since they have more resources to invest in the general preparation process during their last year at high school. That, in turn, may improve their final USE scores and hence chances for better placement.
The main objective of this project is to analyze the differences in USE results for students from different income groups, in order to see how income status (family income level) influences the educational strategies of students, their actual USE scores, and to confirm whether or not it is true that a higher level of income provides more opportunities for admission.
Income may affect the university admission results of an individual in at least two ways. Firstly, via USE scores: additional investments in pre-entry coaching and a wider choice of preparation programs can improve the final result. Secondly, even with their USE scores being equal, students from different income groups may make different decisions about where to apply. Indeed, the level of income is related to revealed risk aversion. Richer households feel more secure about the final outcome, and in case of failing to be admitted to a state-subsidized place richer students have sufficient financial resources to cover the tuition fees, whereas poorer students do not and are forced to choose an institution of a lower quality, but with a higher probability of enrollment, with a lower level of competition between applicants. We will analyze both channels of the influence of income on educational trajectories.
The problems with the accessibility of higher education and issues concerning the equal opportunities for students from different socio-economic status have attracted the attention of many researchers in different countries, and there is a significant amount of papers devoted to the analysis of the effect of income on future educational opportunities. Previous studies show significant influence of income status on students’ achievement (Coleman et al, 1966; White, 1982; Hill, O’Neill, 1994; Orr, 2003; Dahl, Lochner, 2005), having offered possible explanations of the fact, why students from high income families do study better (Lebowitz, 1977; Davis-Kean, 2003). It was stated that income is related not only to the greater amount of resources, but to various parental behavioral patterns. In turn, these behavioral characteristics of the family determine a set of preferences of choice of different educational trajectories. Consequently, rich and poor students often make different decisions concerning the university choice.
1. Coleman J., Campbell E., Hobson C., McPartland J., Mood A., Weinfeld F., York R. Equality of Educational Opportunity. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1966. 2. Dahl G.B., Lochner L. The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement. NBER Working Paper 11279, 2005. 3. Davis-Kean P.E. The Influence of Parent Education and Family Income on Child Achievement: The Indirect Role of Parental Expectations and the Home Environment // Journal of Family Psychology, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2005, pp. 294–304. 4. Hill M.A., O’Neil J. Family Endowments and the Achievement of Young Children with Special Reference to the Underclass // The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 29, No. 4, Special Issue: The Family and Intergenerational Relations, 1994, pp. 1064-1100. 5. Leibowitz A. Parental Inputs and Children's Achievement // The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1977, pp. 242-251. 6. Orr A.J. Black-White Differences in Achievement: The Importance of Wealth // Sociology of Education, Vol. 76, No. 4, 2003, pp. 281-304.
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