Does High School Poverty Matter? College Achievement and Satisfaction

Zitsi Mirakhur, Princeton University
Sara Y. Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin-Madison

We know that high school attended is a strong predictor of college outcomes, particularly in an era where high-income parents are better able to accumulate resources for their children’s schools. This paper builds on that literature to help us understand how post-secondary institutions replicate the inequalities present in the secondary educational system via differential college experiences. Using data from the Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study, we are able to examine high school effects on outcomes three years into a student’s college experience. The data unequivocally show that having attended a high-poverty high school has an increasing negative impact on a student’s academic achievement the longer they are in college while student satisfaction increases with the amount of time spent in college. This paper also explores the mechanisms that might be causing these trends in order to better advocate for policies that will increase the college-completion rates for low-income students.

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Presented in Poster Session 5