Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Equity & Excellence in Education






Rooted in sociological models of educational transitions and tracking, this study examines patterns of stratification in the educational trajectories of low- and high-socioeconomic (SES) students. Utilizing longitudinal data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, this study describes differences in students’ choice sets based on a number of metrics obtained from the Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS). Additionally, multinomial logistic regression models are used to demonstrate the relative probabilities of attending a low-, moderate-, or high- selectivity undergraduate institution between students of low- and high-socioeconomic statuses. Overall, the results demonstrate the pervasiveness of inequality in the college choice decisions of low- and high-SES students and the continued stratification of opportunity for students based on their family background. The study concludes with implications for policymakers and practitioners working within secondary and postsecondary educational sectors


Author Posting. © 2012 University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Education. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Routledge for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Equity & Excellence in Education, Volume 45, Issue 4.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Education Commons