Divergent urban-rural trends in college attendance : state policy bias and structural exclusion in China

Tony TAM, Jin JIANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the massive expansion of higher education in China since 1998, the cohort trends of urban and rural hukou holders in college attendance have widened sharply. Prevailing explanations emphasize the advantages of urban students over rural students in school quality and household financial resources. We propose the structural exclusion hypothesis that underscores the unintended consequences of a state policy: the urban concentrated expansion of vocational upper secondary education. This policy makes the expanding opportunity inaccessible for most rural students but helps lower-achieving urban students remain in the “pipeline” for college. We conduct a crucial test of these explanations by linking provincial-level enrollment statistics with individual-level models of the urban-rural trends in college attendance. The data are drawn from the 2006 Chinese General Social Survey and official statistics for 28 college admission districts over 14 college admission cohorts (1989-2002). Findings suggest that the rising urban advantage originates from the virtually exclusive increase in opportunities for vocational education among urban students. As vocational education is mainly an option for lower-achieving students, the expansion of vocational education most benefits lower-achieving urban students. The widening differences between urban and rural hukou in college attendance therefore reflects the advantage given “marginal” urban students in access to vocational schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-180
Number of pages21
JournalSociology of Education
Volume88
Issue number2
Early online date6 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

exclusion
China
trend
Vocational Education
student
vocational school
official statistics
secondary education
statistics
district
resources
school
education

Keywords

  • China
  • educational expansion
  • exclusion
  • higher education inequality
  • state policy
  • urban-rural gap

Cite this

@article{305036d5cc7b4ccca5ce0c88fbf6104b,
title = "Divergent urban-rural trends in college attendance : state policy bias and structural exclusion in China",
abstract = "Despite the massive expansion of higher education in China since 1998, the cohort trends of urban and rural hukou holders in college attendance have widened sharply. Prevailing explanations emphasize the advantages of urban students over rural students in school quality and household financial resources. We propose the structural exclusion hypothesis that underscores the unintended consequences of a state policy: the urban concentrated expansion of vocational upper secondary education. This policy makes the expanding opportunity inaccessible for most rural students but helps lower-achieving urban students remain in the “pipeline” for college. We conduct a crucial test of these explanations by linking provincial-level enrollment statistics with individual-level models of the urban-rural trends in college attendance. The data are drawn from the 2006 Chinese General Social Survey and official statistics for 28 college admission districts over 14 college admission cohorts (1989-2002). Findings suggest that the rising urban advantage originates from the virtually exclusive increase in opportunities for vocational education among urban students. As vocational education is mainly an option for lower-achieving students, the expansion of vocational education most benefits lower-achieving urban students. The widening differences between urban and rural hukou in college attendance therefore reflects the advantage given “marginal” urban students in access to vocational schools.",
keywords = "China, educational expansion, exclusion, higher education inequality, state policy, urban-rural gap",
author = "Tony TAM and Jin JIANG",
year = "2015",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0038040715574779",
language = "English",
volume = "88",
pages = "160--180",
journal = "Sociology of Education",
issn = "0038-0407",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "2",

}

Divergent urban-rural trends in college attendance : state policy bias and structural exclusion in China. / TAM, Tony; JIANG, Jin.

In: Sociology of Education, Vol. 88, No. 2, 01.04.2015, p. 160-180.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Divergent urban-rural trends in college attendance : state policy bias and structural exclusion in China

AU - TAM, Tony

AU - JIANG, Jin

PY - 2015/4/1

Y1 - 2015/4/1

N2 - Despite the massive expansion of higher education in China since 1998, the cohort trends of urban and rural hukou holders in college attendance have widened sharply. Prevailing explanations emphasize the advantages of urban students over rural students in school quality and household financial resources. We propose the structural exclusion hypothesis that underscores the unintended consequences of a state policy: the urban concentrated expansion of vocational upper secondary education. This policy makes the expanding opportunity inaccessible for most rural students but helps lower-achieving urban students remain in the “pipeline” for college. We conduct a crucial test of these explanations by linking provincial-level enrollment statistics with individual-level models of the urban-rural trends in college attendance. The data are drawn from the 2006 Chinese General Social Survey and official statistics for 28 college admission districts over 14 college admission cohorts (1989-2002). Findings suggest that the rising urban advantage originates from the virtually exclusive increase in opportunities for vocational education among urban students. As vocational education is mainly an option for lower-achieving students, the expansion of vocational education most benefits lower-achieving urban students. The widening differences between urban and rural hukou in college attendance therefore reflects the advantage given “marginal” urban students in access to vocational schools.

AB - Despite the massive expansion of higher education in China since 1998, the cohort trends of urban and rural hukou holders in college attendance have widened sharply. Prevailing explanations emphasize the advantages of urban students over rural students in school quality and household financial resources. We propose the structural exclusion hypothesis that underscores the unintended consequences of a state policy: the urban concentrated expansion of vocational upper secondary education. This policy makes the expanding opportunity inaccessible for most rural students but helps lower-achieving urban students remain in the “pipeline” for college. We conduct a crucial test of these explanations by linking provincial-level enrollment statistics with individual-level models of the urban-rural trends in college attendance. The data are drawn from the 2006 Chinese General Social Survey and official statistics for 28 college admission districts over 14 college admission cohorts (1989-2002). Findings suggest that the rising urban advantage originates from the virtually exclusive increase in opportunities for vocational education among urban students. As vocational education is mainly an option for lower-achieving students, the expansion of vocational education most benefits lower-achieving urban students. The widening differences between urban and rural hukou in college attendance therefore reflects the advantage given “marginal” urban students in access to vocational schools.

KW - China

KW - educational expansion

KW - exclusion

KW - higher education inequality

KW - state policy

KW - urban-rural gap

UR - http://commons.ln.edu.hk/sw_master/5217

UR - https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84925258102&doi=10.1177%2f0038040715574779&partnerID=40&md5=e11fa7183caed5e9bd32db45968e4651

U2 - 10.1177/0038040715574779

DO - 10.1177/0038040715574779

M3 - Journal Article (refereed)

VL - 88

SP - 160

EP - 180

JO - Sociology of Education

JF - Sociology of Education

SN - 0038-0407

IS - 2

ER -