By Gabby Mendoza

Staff Writer

Studies indicate that high-achieving LBCC students along with other local and Community College students nationwide fail to graduate from high-ranking colleges due to limits on personal finances and accessibility.

National research conducted by Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard shows many high-achieving students not applying to competitive colleges. The study reported that 34 percent of high-achieving students with low incomes attend 238 of the nation’s most selective colleges.

The study concluded that many students chose to attend less competitive schools because they believe it is unaffordable and they do not know much about the competitive schools.

“I chose to attend LBCC because it is close to my house and we were told about the Promise Pathways program by our high school,” said Marilyn Estrada, 20, an ultrasound technician major. Kathleen Juico, 21, a clinical science major, said, “My family would not be financially prepared to pay for an education at a highly competitive college.”

LBCC transfer coordinator and counselor Ruben Page said the most common school students apply for to transfer is Cal State Long Beach due to its proximity and more affordable cost compared to some selective schools. He said many high-achieving students are reluctant to apply for selective colleges because they are reluctant to move out of their comfort zone and fear courses will be too tough.

Page said, “The two most important things are to have a financial support system lined up and family support. Educating parents on the differences between colleges is as important as educating students.”

No matter the reason, the choice to attend a less competitive college holds consequences, including lower graduation rates and fewer student resources, Hoxby said. The study showed that the 89 percent of high-achieving students who attended selective colleges had graduated or were on track to graduate on time compared to 50 percent of top low-income students at non-selective colleges.

However, students who do graduate may miss out on career opportunities offered to students from more competitive colleges, Hoxby added.

Page said landing a post-graduation job is about how students package themselves. Page said, “Everyone will have that piece of paper, but what else have you been doing? Going beyond the piece of paper and beyond just  talking the talk is what matters.”

Hoxby and Avery emphasize their data does not prove better recruiting techniques will drive student application and success rates. Hoxby and Sarah Turner, a professor at the University of Virginia, plan to conduct follow-up research to evaluate which recruitment techniques work best and how students respond.

Page said, “I hope students will keep their options open and explore a little bit.”