Publication: Intervening opportunities between home and college: Students’ geographic mobility by college type
Lisa Birnbaum and Kröner, S. published together with colleges from Harvard University an article on “Intervening opportunities between home and college: Students’ geographic mobility by college type” in Community College Journal of Research and Practice.
This study compared the geographic mobility of community college students with that of students at other institutions of higher education. Using a sample of 7192 students at 39 institutions across the United States (13 community colleges, 14 public 4-year institutions, 12 private 4-year institutions), it employed the method of operationalizing geographic distance as the number of intervening opportunities between home and school. From normative life course theory, two main hypotheses were derived. Corroborating the first hypothesis, the catchment areas of the community colleges were found to be local and determined by proximity. Contrary to the second hypothesis, there was no interaction effect of gender and college type. Rather, women, on average, exhibited a lower degree of geographic mobility than did their male counterparts across all college types. Although there are certainly structural challenges inherent in the non-hegemonic life course strategy presented by community colleges, community colleges were found to fulfill their mission in terms of delivering an alternative to the hegemonic spatial element of expected geographic mobility in higher education.