Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mindy Adnot
Using Raj Chetty’s datasets that measures intergenerational income mobility at each college in the United States I analyzed child and parent income distribution. College is an engine for upwards mobility by the opportunity it provides through education. We wanted to understand the disparities present in the ability for low-income students to attend universities and improve their economic status. By categorizing universities by tier (selectivity and type) we were able to use this to look at college accessibility with regard to economic status, difference in earnings for a high-income and low-income student with the same education (or attending the same tier university) and how income mobility changes at various tiers of education. From the data analysis, some major conclusions we found were that access to college is dependent on family income. This means that a high-income family is more likely to send their children to an elite school than a low-income family. Another finding shedding light on mobility is that mobility is not dependent on tier. Variation in mobility is present from university to university in the same tier; therefore, mobility is more dependent on each individual university. Our final finding shows that college almost “levels the playing field” for all student regardless of economic background; in short, earning potentials are slightly higher for high-income students at a given university. We are left with the information that colleges are efficient engines of upward mobility; however, access to these institutions is limited to a majority of high-income families.