Social origin and the financial feasibility of going to university: the role of wage penalties and availability of funding

Findlay, J. and Hermannsson, K. (2019) Social origin and the financial feasibility of going to university: the role of wage penalties and availability of funding. Studies in Higher Education, 44(11), pp. 2025-2040. (doi: 10.1080/03075079.2018.1488160)

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Abstract

The evidence on why students from lower social origin are persistently underrepresented in higher education (HE) suggests social, educational and economic factors all play a role. We concentrate on the influence of monetary costs/benefits and how these are influenced by social origin. In particular, we consider the effect of a class-based wage penalty in the labour market and, using evidence from a large-scale survey of Scottish students, we show how the greater financial constraints facing working-class students affects the incentive to participate in HE. Using a simple model of human capital investment, the low rate of working-class participation in HE is shown to be consistent with rational behaviour, i.e. weighing the monetary costs and benefits, participating in HE is a less attractive investment proposition for some students. We conduct simulations which suggest this could be mitigated by generous income-contingent support.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Findlay, Mrs Jeanette and Hermannsson, Dr Kristinn
Authors: Findlay, J., and Hermannsson, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Robert Owen Centre
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Journal Name:Studies in Higher Education
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0307-5079
ISSN (Online):1470-174X
Published Online:09 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Society for Research into Higher Education
First Published:First published in Studies in Higher Education 44(11):2025-2040
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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