Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mindy Adnot
After reading Chetty’s Leading on Opportunity Task Report, I was inspired to research how higher education affects mobility. Chetty demonstrated the effects of high school education but did not research higher education. I was interested to see how much a choice in college impacts a child’s future. I decided to research how attending a college impacts a student from the lowest income quintile and if the type of university impacts a student’s mobility. I used Chetty’s dataset on “The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility.” The dataset looked at 2,202 colleges and over 30 million college students from 1999-2013. It included variables such as mobility rate, upper mobility rate, median salary, and average SAT scores.
I found that highly selective public schools have the highest average mobility rate which is the probability that a student with a parent in bottom 20% income bracket reach the top 20% income bracket. Ivy Plus schools also have the highest average upper tail mobility which is the probability that a student with a parent in bottom 20% reach the top 1%. Schools with higher selectivity have a larger sticker price but higher median earnings. A student whose parent income rank is lower is more likely to go to a less selective school which lowers their chance of mobility. High selectivity colleges have more students with parents in high income brackets and Ivy Plus colleges have the highest mean parental income.
Overall, lower income students are more likely to have access to public schools with a low sticker price than expensive highly selective schools. Many of the Ivy League colleges claim to be need-blind but have a disproportionate amount of high-income rank students. I think that high schools should educate lower income students on how best to make their college decision and the most affordable options.