By: Michael Andrew Koicich, Texas Tech University
AERA 2014 Annual Meeting
April 4, 2014
Students from rural areas have a history of lower educational attainment at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels, yet this population remains understudied. This study seeks to update past studies of rural youth by examining college attendance and choice decisions for students from non-metropolitan counties. Logistic regression is used to study the postsecondary attendance and institutional choice for rural students. Data are taken from two national data sets, the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 and the 2004 County Typologies published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which are then combined to conduct this analysis. The results of this study reveal clear disadvantages in postsecondary attendance, institutional level, selectivity, and other indicators resulting simply from living in a non-metropolitan county. The effect of most student characteristics did not vary substantially between rural and non-rural areas, but the analysis did reveal one interesting finding: The relationship between college attendance and choice and a student’s socioeconomic status was weaker for rural students than for non-rural students. Some systematic variation across rural communities was revealed, as well.