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Student Vulnerabilities : An Analysis Of College Choice And Access Gaps Faced By Low Income Students Essay

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Running Head: STUDENT VULNERABILITIES: AN ANALYSIS OF COLLEGE CHOICE

Student Vulnerabilities: An Analysis Of College Choice And Access Gaps Faced By Low-Income Students

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Merrill Farmer
Simon Fraser University

Abstract
Low income students face a number of financial, geographical, social, cultural and institutional vulnerabilities when choosing if and where they will attend postsecondary education. Higher achieving students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds apply, enroll, and complete postsecondary education at lower rates than students from higher income quartiles. Lower income students also apply to and attend less selective and competitive institutions in comparison to higher income students, a phenomenon known as undermatching. Undermatching is more prevalent among low income students whose parents did not attend postsecondary education, are from rural communities, who lack access to college counselling, and advice on the college application and financial aid process. This undermatching could result in further disadvantages to these lower income students such as, lower earnings from employment, longer completion times, lower graduation rates and weaker career and life aspirations. A series of policy and institutional interventions or reforms would better support low income students, and narrow the access gap that is occurring. A comparison between the United States and Canada proves some similarities, and
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