Social Stratification in China’s Higher Education Expansion: Findings from a College Student Panel Survey in Beijing

Xiaogang Wu, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Higher education in China has experienced an unprecedented expansion since 1998. Despite the heated public debate on equity in access to higher education, the examination of the role of expansion and differentiation in higher education and its implications for stratification remain to be seen, mainly due to the unavailability of appropriate data. Based on the panel data on 5000 students from 15 universities in Beijing collected since 2009, this paper analyzes students’retrospective information on high school experience and admission processes, analyzes show how family background, high school, and preferential policies have channeled students into different types of tertiary institutions. The transition from elite to mass high education has also been accompanied by differentiation between elite research universities and less selective colleges of second tiers, with latter increasingly occupied by children of working classes.

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Presented in Poster Session 4