Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Working-Class Students Are Left Out at Uni

In a review paper published this month, I report the results of a meta-analysis of 35 separate studies that surveyed over 62,000 university students, mostly in the United States. I found that there was a significant positive relation between students’ social class (socioeconomic status) and the degree of social integration that they experience at their universities and colleges.

The higher students’ social class, the more likely they were to participate in formal social activities such as campus-based clubs, societies, and organizations. Higher social class was also positively related to participation in informal social activities such as the number of friends on campus, dates, parties, and nonclassroom conversations. Finally, social class was positively related to students’ sense of belonging to their higher education institutions.

These results are worrying because they suggest that working-class students are being left out of a number of social activities that have been shown to predict students’ academic performance and persistence at university. In my review, I suggest several potential explanations for these social class differences.

For further information, please see the following journal article:
Rubin, M. (2012). Social class differences in social integration among students in higher education: A meta-analysis and recommendations for future research. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 5 (1), 22-38 DOI: 10.1037/a0026162