College of Education > Center on Rural Education and Communities > CREC Research and Outreach Initiatives > Rural High School Student Aspirations & College Success for Rural Youth

Rural High School Student Aspirations & College Success for Rural Youth

CREC is involved in initiatives that build on previous work associated with the Rural High School Aspirations (RHAS) study administrated out of the National Research Center for Rural Education Support. This work examined the ways in which rural youth develop future aspirations for education, residence and career, in particular looking at how rural school and community attachment may affect rural youth aspirations and future plans.

Follow-up work looks at malleable educational programs, policies, and practices that promote college persistence and completion among rural youth. Using various data available at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (e.g., Educational Longitudinal Study, High School Longitudinal Study, and Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study), this work addresses the following questions:

  • Do rural youth at four-year institutions differ from their metro counterparts in college experiences and pathways by which they pursue postsecondary education?  If so, how?
  • How do college experiences of rural youth affect their college persistence and degree completion?
  • Which educational programs and policies matter for bachelor degree persistence and completion among rural youth, controlling for background traits (e.g., family socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and gender) and pre-college preparation?

Which educational programs and policies matter for bachelor degree persistence and completion among rural youth, controlling for background traits (e.g., family socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and gender) and pre-college preparation?

This follow-up work is being conducted in collaboration with Penn State faculty member and CREC Associate, Soo-yong Byun, and Dr. Judith Meece, professor of education at the University of North Carolina.

Selected Publications by CREC Affiliates and Associates from this Work:

Byun, S., Irvin, M. J., & Meece, J. L. (2012). Predictors of bachelor's degree completion among rural youth at four-year institutions. Review of Higher Education35(3), 463-484.

Byun, S., Irvin, M. J., & Meece, J. L. (2015). Rural-nonrural differences in college attendance patterns. Peabody Journal of Education90(2), 263-279. (invited submission).

Byun, S., Meece, J. L., & Irvin, M. J. (2012). Rural-nonrural disparities in postsecondary educational attainment revisited. American Educational Research Journal49(3), 412-437.

Byun, S., Meece, J. L., Irvin, M. J., & Hutchins, B. C. (2012). The role of social capital in educational aspirations of rural youth. Rural Sociology77(3), 355-379

Irvin, M. J., Byun, S., Meece, J. L., Farmer, T. W., & Hutchins, B. C. (2012). Educational barriers of rural youth: Relation of individual and contextual difference variables. Journal of Career Assessment20(1), 71-87.

Irvin, M. J., Byun, S., Meece, J. L., Farmer, T. W., & Reed, K. S. (2016, in press). School characteristics and experiences of youth from minority backgrounds in rural communities: Relation to the educational aspirations. Peabody Journal of Education. (invited submission).

Meece, J. L., Hutchins, B. C., Byun, S., Farmer, T. W., Irvin, M. J., & Weiss, M. (2013). Preparing for adulthood: A recent examination of the alignment of rural youth’s educational and vocational aspirations. Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 3(2), 175-192.

Meece, J. L., Askew, K. J. S., Agger, C. A., Hutchins, B. C., & Byun, S. (2014). Familial and economic influences on the gendered-related educational and vocational aspirations of rural adolescents. Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 4(1), 238-257.

Petrin, R., Schafft, K.A., & Meece, J. (2014). Educational sorting and residential aspirations among rural high school students:  What are the contributions of schools and educators to the rural brain drain? American Educational Research Journal, 51(2), 294-326. (second author)

Schafft, K.A. (forthcoming 2016) Rural education as rural development: Understanding the rural school-community well-being linkage in a 21st century policy context.  Peabody Journal of Education.