The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Applied Economics: M.S.




School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Monica Garcia-Perez

Second Advisor

Kenneth Rebeck

Third Advisor

Robert Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Educational Gap, College Attendance, College Enrollment, Neighborhood Effects, Human Capital


We follow the transition from high school to college and the characteristics of college enrollment from 2009 to 2017 in four cohorts of high school graduates in Saint Cloud Minnesota, using student records from the school district administrative system and the National Student Clearinghouse data on college registration. Residential addresses are geocoded at the census block group level to incorporate neighborhood effects. Logistic model, Two Step Least Squares, and survival analysis are applied to explore the effects of socioeconomic determinants in college enrollment, timing of enrollment and postsecondary education choices. Logistic models fail to reflect neighborhood effects across most specifications. High school grades, sex and family background have robust effects in these models. When GPA is considered endogenous to socioeconomic determinants, findings show neighborhood effects are robust and have a large impact on high school performance and college enrollment. Neighborhood educational attainment, unemployment, and income are strong predictors of enrollment and offset individual characteristics. Racial segregation is insignificant across most specifications. Evidence from survival models suggests that GPA, sex, and socioeconomic background are related to early enrollment. Students with better high school grades are more likely to enroll in 4 Year institutions and less likely to enroll in 2 Year institution, and have lower odds to enroll into For-Profit institutions. Results highlight the importance of neighborhood effects to explain educational outcomes and heterogeneous educational choices. It also stresses dynamic complementarities in education.


This research has been possible due to financial support by the Pre-College Programs department in St. Cloud State University and the Department of Economics. I wish to express my deep appreciation to Dr. Robert Johnson and Dr. Monica Garcia-Perez, who led the research on the Access and Opportunity Program that made this project possible.

This is also an opportunity to express thanks to the Faculty at the Department of Economics in SCSU, and to the financial support by the Michael D. White Economic Fellowship. The Faculty has been unique in kindness and warmth. In particular, Dr. Garcia-Perez has been a role model and an inspiration as Professor, advisor, and supervisor. To her, I hope to give my wholehearted respect and follow her example.

The author is responsible for errors, interpretations and/or omissions. Views, thoughts, interpretations, and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author and not necessarily reflect the institutions, committee, group or individuals in St. Cloud State University.