Measuring geographic access to higher education: a county-level analysis.

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Measuring geographic access to higher education: a county-level analysis.

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This thesis defines college access measures that are dependent on county of residence, rather than individual student characteristics. Access to college was quantified by determining the physical availability (college seats, distance to nearest institution) and prices (minimum and average tuition) that students would face within driving distance from their county of residence. While geographic measures have been used in previous research, most have used state-wide measures, if at all, whereas this analysis uses weighted county-level measures, a technique that is more precise than any previously implemented. The results suggest that, of the access measures included in the analysis, lower minimum tuition levels do the most to improve educational attainment regionally. Proximity to public two-year institutions seem to provide the greatest benefit to associate-level degree attainment, particularly in areas with large Hispanic populations, whereas proximity to four-year public institutions provide the greatest benefit to bachelor’s degree attainment. Finally, four-year minority serving institutions are more effective at serving their target populations, and also provide benefit to the entire region, regardless of race.


University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. April 2012. Major: Applied economics. Advisor: Elton Mykerezi. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 66 pages.

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Haynes, Monica R.. (2012). Measuring geographic access to higher education: a county-level analysis.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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