Geographic inequities in local higher education opportunities? : identifying college deserts with critical GIS
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In a world where one's future is heavily impacted by having postsecondary education, access to college is a pertinent research topic. Access is a widely researched topic, but only recently has college access been studied specifically. This study proposes a geographic information systems based methodology for quantifying college access at multiple spatial scales. This methodology was implemented with the Python programming language and ArcGIS. A sample of six metropolitan statistical areas were identified and analyzed using the developed methodology. Within this sample, college access varied primarily by socio-economic status although some variation between race/ethnicity was identified. Further research is needed to assess whether these trends are generalizable. Quantification of college access will aid policy-makers to prepare reforms to reduce the inequity of college access.
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