College graduates earn more, are healthier, and have more stable employment and marriages. Although young adults today are twice as likely to have a bachelor’s degree compared to 50 years ago, there are still sizable differences in enrollment by gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

This report from the Brookings Institution examines new data on college enrollment gaps and how those gaps relate to students’ high school academic preparation. Specifically, the report finds that college enrollment gaps by socioeconomic status, gender, and race are significant, and that gaps are much smaller and sometimes reversed among students with similar academic preparation.

The results suggest that policymakers and researchers interested in addressing college enrollment disparities should pay careful attention to disparities in academic preparation during elementary and secondary education.

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