The Importance of Place: Effects of Community Job Loss on College Enrollment and Attainment Across Rural and Metropolitan Regions

Resource Type
  • Sorensen, Lucy C. (State University of New York. University at Albany)
  • Hwang, Moontae (State University of New York. University at Albany)
Publication Date
  • Abstract

    Youth living in remote rural communities face significant geographic barriers to college access. Even those living near to a postsecondary institution may not have the means for, or may not see the value of, pursuing a college degree within their local economy. This study uses 18 years of national county-level data to ask how local economic shocks affect the postsecondary enrollment and attainment of rural students, as compared to students in metropolitan and metropolitan-adjacent regions. Results from an instrumental variables analysis indicate that each 1 percentage point increase in local unemployment increases local college enrollment by 10.0 percent in remote rural areas, as compared to a 5.2 percent increase in metropolitan-adjacent areas and no detectable increase in metropolitan areas. The rise in rural college enrollment is driven primarily by students enrolling in or continuing in associate degree programs, and by students transferring from two-year to four-year programs.
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
  • Has version
    DOI: 10.3886/E131921V1

Update Metadata: 2021-02-08 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2021-02-08