Improving the Educational Performance of Children in Low-Income Families

Awarded Scholars:
Barbara Wolfe, University of Wisconsin
Robert Haveman, University of Wisconsin
Deven Carlson, University of Oklahoma
Project Date:
Jan 2016
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

Students from high-income families go to college at higher rates and are more likely to graduate than those from low-income families. This disparity has increased in recent decades. The factors that influence these post-secondary outcomes are varied, and include family circumstances (such as economic resources and family stability), school attributes (such as peer socioeconomic-status composition, teacher quality, and school resources), and neighborhood characteristics (such as crime orviolence).

Professors Barbara Wolfe, Robert Haveman and Deven Carlson indicate that several other factors may be related to the educational attainment of disadvantaged youth—specifically, the receipt of public means-tested transfers (including food and housing subsidies) and parental ties to work. The investigators will rely on a unique and extensive database that they have constructed (and will update) to examine the association between the receipt of means-tested transfers by the families of low-income youth and their subsequent college attainment.


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