Rural–Nonrural Differences in College Attendance Patterns

Soo Yong Byun, Matthew J. Irvin, Judith L. Meece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, this study documented college attendance patterns of rural youth in terms of the selectivity of first postsecondary institution of attendance, the timing of transition to postsecondary education, and the continuity of enrollment. The study also examined how these college attendance patterns among rural students differed from those among their nonrural counterparts and which factors explained these rural–nonrural differences. Results showed that rural youth were less likely than their nonrural counterparts to attend a selective institution. In addition, rural youth were more likely to delay entry to postsecondary education compared to their urban counterparts. Finally, rural students were less likely than their urban counterparts to be continuously enrolled in college. Much of these rural–nonrural disparities in college attendance patterns were explained by rural–nonrural differences in socioeconomic status and high school preparation. Policy implications, limitations of the study, and future research directions are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalPeabody Journal of Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author (Soo-yong Byun) acknowledges support by a seed grant from the Penn State Population Research Institute funded by the National Institutes of Health (R24HD041025). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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