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May 16, 2006

Factors Affecting Postsecondary Education Enrollment

Assessing the Impact of Social Capital, Academic Preparation and Financial Factors on Postsecondary Education Enrollment

Abstract

This study develops and tests a model for understanding and predicting postsecondary education enrollment by measuring social capital, academic preparation, and financial factors. Rational choice, social reproduction, status attainment, and social capital theories will inform the model development. Focus is placed on social capital constructs (e.g. information, bridges, and support networks) that appear to be related to postsecondary education enrollment outcomes. Postsecondary education enrollment is defined as a set of choices including not enrollment in postsecondary education, enrollment in a 2-year institution, and enrollment in a 4-year institution. The proposed analytical model allows assessing direct and indirect social capital effects on enrollment decisions. The final model may be used for enrollment prediction and policy making purposes.

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AIR Forum 2006.

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