Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Understanding College Enrollment Trends in New York City By Neighborhood

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 10:15 AM
Hibiscus (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Charmaine Lester, New York City Department of Education
Despite the fact that the percentage of students graduating within four years from public high schools in New York City has increased dramatically from 2006 to 2012, the percentage of graduates who enrolled in college immediately after high school has remained steady at 70 percent. As local policymakers strengthen their strategies for ensuring college and career readiness for all high school graduates, researchers at the New York City Department of Education (DOE) would like to better identify the students unlikely to enroll in college immediately so that they might develop and implement strategies to address potential barriers to higher education. However, in order for decision-makers to effectively improve the percentage of graduates who enroll in college immediately, we need to better understand the extent to which one’s neighborhood of residence is associated with college-going behaviors as research suggests that students in neighborhoods with the least social capital and/or resources are least likely to succeed on a number of potential outcomes.

To address our research aim, we use data available through The New York City Partnership for College Readiness and Success. This comprehensive database includes Census-tract level data from the American Community Survey which incorporates information on students’ neighborhood characteristics such as the unemployment rate, percentage of adults with a Bachelor’s degree, percentage of population not U.S. citizens, the percentage of children living with one parent, and median income. We run a series of cross-nested, multi-level logistic models to examine the relationship between the aforementioned neighborhood characteristics and New York City students’ college enrollment outcomes, net student-level demographic (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, home language) and academic background characteristics (e.g., test scores, grades, course-work taken).

Given the importance of educational attainment for economic mobility, our research aims to uncover ways in which one’s neighborhood of residence influences the likelihood to enroll in college. Findings from this work can inform the work of City Hall officials and DOE policymakers as they consider place-based strategies to improve local college-going rates. Further, this paper could inform CUNY’s recruitment practices in high schools across New York City.