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Chapter 5: College Knowledge

Indicator 30: Postsecondary School Choice Factors

In 2004, among high school seniors with plans to continue their education, higher percentages of females than males reported the availability of courses, low expenses, the availability of financial aid, and the academic reputation of a postsecondary institution as very important factors in their school selection process.

In 2004, among the 93 percent of high school seniors with postsecondary aspirations, 67 percent reported that the availability of courses was very important to them when selecting an educational institution. Seniors with postsecondary aspirations also reported the following postsecondary characteristics as very important: low expenses (36 percent), the availability of financial aid (57 percent), academic reputation (58 percent), athletic program (15 percent), active social life (30 percent), easy admission (23 percent), and racial/ethnic makeup (14 percent). Higher percentages of females than males considered low expenses, the availability of financial aid, and academic reputation to be very important to their school choice. The reverse was observed (higher percentages of males than females) regarding the importance of an institution's athletic programs and social life.

Concerning the availability of courses, 62 percent of males reported this factor as very important to their selection of a postsecondary institution, compared to 71 percent of females. Differences between males and females were also found within some racial/ethnic groups, specifically, Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. For example, 69 percent of Black males considered the availability of courses to be a very important school selection factor, compared to 79 percent of Black females. No measurable differences between males and females were found for Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and those of two or more races. Overall, the percentage of Black seniors reporting the availability of courses as very important (74 percent) was higher than the percentages of White, Hispanic, and Asian seniors (65 percent each).

Low expenses were reported as a very important factor in the choice of postsecondary institutions by 33 percent of males, compared to 38 percent of females. Differences between males and females were also found for Whites (27 vs. 32 percent), Hispanics (40 vs. 47 percent), and students of two or more races (34 vs. 49 percent). Across racial/ethnic groups, a higher percentage of Blacks reported low expenses as very important than did Whites, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and those of two or more races. Additionally, a higher percentage of Hispanic high school seniors than White and Asian high school seniors reported this factor as very important (44 percent vs. 30 and 33 percent, respectively).

The availability of financial aid also varied in importance by sex and race/ethnicity. Overall, a higher percentage of females (63 percent) than males (51 percent) reported this factor as very important in 2004. Within racial/ ethnic groups, a similar pattern was found for Whites (57 vs. 43 percent), Blacks (80 vs. 72 percent), Hispanics (76 vs. 65 percent), and those of two or more races (68 vs. 55 percent). Differences across racial/ethnic groups include a higher percentage of Blacks than seniors in all other racial/ethnic groups reporting the availability of financial aid as very important, as well as a higher percentage of Hispanics than Whites, Asians, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and those of two or more races.

Academic reputation was also among the factors that a higher percentage of females than males (63 vs. 52 percent) reported as very important in the choice of a postsecondary institution in 2004. A similar pattern was found for Whites (63 vs. 49 percent), Blacks (72 vs. 60 percent), and Asians (72 vs. 62 percent). Across racial/ ethnic groups, higher percentages of both Blacks and Asians cited an institution's academic reputation as a very important factor than did Whites, Hispanics, and those of two or more races.

A higher percentage of males than females rated other school choice factors as very important in their selection of postsecondary institutions. For example, among seniors with postsecondary aspirations, 15 percent thought an institution's athletic program was very important and 30 percent thought an institution's social life was very important. However, higher percentages of males than females reported athletic programs (19 vs. 11 percent) and social life (33 vs. 27 percent) as very important. A similar pattern was found for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and those of two or more races for an institution's athletic programs and for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians/Alaska Natives for its social life.

Differences were also found across racial/ethnic groups for an institution's athletic programs and social life. A higher percentage of Blacks (26 percent) reported athletic programs as a very important factor than did Whites (12 percent), Hispanics (15 percent), Asians (11 percent), and those of two or more races (17 percent). The percentage of Hispanic seniors who reported this factor as very important was also higher than the percentages of Whites and Asians. Similarly, a higher percentage of Blacks (35 percent) reported an institution's social life as a very important factor than did Whites (30 percent), Hispanics (28 percent), and Asians (28 percent).

Two other postsecondary school choice factors—easy admission and racial/ethnic makeup—were reported as very important by 23 percent and 14 percent, respectively, of seniors with college aspirations. Although no significant differences were found between males and females overall or between males and females within each racial/ethnic group, differences were observed across race/ethnicity. For example, a lower percentage of Whites (17 percent) reported easy admission as a very important factor than did Blacks (41 percent), Hispanics (31 percent), Asians (21 percent), and those of two or more races (27 percent). In addition, the percentage of Blacks reporting easy admission as very important was higher than that of Hispanics, Asians, and those of two or more races, and the percentage of Hispanics reporting it as very important was higher than that of Asians. Concerning an institution's racial/ethnic makeup, a lower percentage of Whites (8 percent) reported this factor as very important than did Blacks (31 percent), Hispanics (19 percent), Asians (19 percent), and those of two or more races (20 percent). In addition, the percentage of Blacks who reported racial/ethnic makeup as very important was higher than the percentages of students of all other races/ethnicities.

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Figure 30-1 Percentage of high school seniors with postsecondary aspirations who reported low postsecondary school expenses and the availability of financial aid as very important to their decisions, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2004

Figure 30-2 Percentage of high school seniors with postsecondary aspirations who reported postsecondary institution's athletic program and active social life as very important, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2004

Table E-30-1 Percentage of high school seniors with postsecondary aspirations who reported select school choice factors as very important, by school choice factor, sex, and race/ethnicity: 2004


  
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