Stratified Access to Science and Math Enrollment: The Effect of Geographic Proximity to Postsecondary Educational Institutions

Sarah Blanchard, University of Texas at Austin

To support the demands of a changing economy, researchers and policymakers must understand how individuals prepare for employment in the growing health-care sector, applied technology fields, and for future scientific roles. However, postsecondary training for these fields is increasingly stratified by race, ethnicity, rurality, and socioeconomic status (SES) in ways that have consequences for individuals, communities, and society. Using the Educational Longitudinal Study, this project builds on previous work on the geography of opportunity that finds that disadvantaged students' postsecondary enrollment is constrained by the concentration of colleges in proximity to the home through a convenience mechanism (Lopez Turley 2009). Findings of logistic regression analysis indicate that geographic proximity affects odds of enrollment into postsecondary math and science and that this effect is moderated by student characteristics, notably race and ethnicity. This study contributes to disentangling the complex of constraining factors which limit access to crucial areas of the workforce.

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Presented in Poster Session 4