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Table 4 presents results for regression specifications for the full sample of high school graduates for our two main outcomes of interest. As noted earlier, our first outcome is an indicator of whether an individual applies to a four-year university—this is equal to one if the student either applied to any four-year Texas public university or appeared in the NSC as enrolled at any four-year university (panel A). Our second outcome is an indicator of whether an individual applied to a selective university—this is equal to one if the individual applied to either Texas flagship university or appeared in the NSC as enrolled in a four-year university ranked higher by U.S. News & World Report than the Texas flagships (panel B).

Table 4.
Ordinary Least Squares Regression Results for Applying to College
Panel A: Any Four-Year UniversityPanel B: Flagship University or Better
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)
Race and ethnicity         
Black 0.023* 0.127* 0.146* 0.138* −0.074* −0.016* −0.009* −0.008* 
 (0.008) (0.006) (0.005) (0.004) (0.004) (0.003) (0.002) (0.002) 
Hispanic −0.077* −0.002 −0.065* −0.061* −0.060* −0.025* −0.022* −0.021* 
 (0.009) (0.007) (0.003) (0.003) (0.004) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) 
Asian 0.177* 0.018* −0.036* −0.019* 0.185* 0.048* 0.031* 0.026* 
 (0.009) (0.009) (0.007) (0.006) (0.011) (0.008) (0.007) (0.005) 
Other demographics         
Free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) −0.114* −0.047* −0.052* −0.054* −0.070* −0.030* −0.020* −0.020* 
eligible (0.006) (0.005) (0.002) (0.002) (0.003) (0.002) (0.001) (0.001) 
Limited English proficient (LEP) −0.204* −0.096* 0.011* −0.097* −0.060* 0.009* −0.002* 0.011* 
 (0.006) (0.006) (0.002) (0.005) (0.003) (0.002) (0.001) (0.002) 
High school coursework (college readiness)        
No. of AP and IB semesters  0.014* 0.010* 0.013*  0.017* 0.015* 0.018* 
  (0.001) (0.001) (0.001)  (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) 
Took AP English language arts  0.132* 0.129* 0.138*  0.013* 0.020* 0.019* 
  (0.007) (0.005) (0.004)  (0.005) (0.005) (0.004) 
Took AP mathematics  0.121* 0.121* 0.116*  0.151* 0.146* 0.140* 
  (0.005) (0.004) (0.004)  (0.006) (0.005) (0.004) 
Took AP science  0.051* 0.044* 0.048*  0.058* 0.054* 0.056* 
  (0.006) (0.005) (0.004)  (0.005) (0.005) (0.004) 
Total semesters failed  −0.020* −0.018* −0.020*  −0.003* −0.003* −0.003* 
  (0.001) (0.000) (0.000)  (0.000) (0.000) (0.000) 
High school exit exam (z-score)a  0.079* 0.069* 0.067*  0.038* 0.034* 0.031* 
  (0.002) (0.001) (0.001)  (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) 
Geographic proximityb         
Distance to nearest university   −0.107*    −0.063*  
(100 miles)   (0.038)    (0.005)  
Distance squared   0.074*    0.009*  
   (0.036)    (0.001)  
Number of observations 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 
Other controls         
High school characteristicsc   Yes    Yes  
High school fixed effects    Yes    Yes 
Panel A: Any Four-Year UniversityPanel B: Flagship University or Better
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)
Race and ethnicity         
Black 0.023* 0.127* 0.146* 0.138* −0.074* −0.016* −0.009* −0.008* 
 (0.008) (0.006) (0.005) (0.004) (0.004) (0.003) (0.002) (0.002) 
Hispanic −0.077* −0.002 −0.065* −0.061* −0.060* −0.025* −0.022* −0.021* 
 (0.009) (0.007) (0.003) (0.003) (0.004) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) 
Asian 0.177* 0.018* −0.036* −0.019* 0.185* 0.048* 0.031* 0.026* 
 (0.009) (0.009) (0.007) (0.006) (0.011) (0.008) (0.007) (0.005) 
Other demographics         
Free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) −0.114* −0.047* −0.052* −0.054* −0.070* −0.030* −0.020* −0.020* 
eligible (0.006) (0.005) (0.002) (0.002) (0.003) (0.002) (0.001) (0.001) 
Limited English proficient (LEP) −0.204* −0.096* 0.011* −0.097* −0.060* 0.009* −0.002* 0.011* 
 (0.006) (0.006) (0.002) (0.005) (0.003) (0.002) (0.001) (0.002) 
High school coursework (college readiness)        
No. of AP and IB semesters  0.014* 0.010* 0.013*  0.017* 0.015* 0.018* 
  (0.001) (0.001) (0.001)  (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) 
Took AP English language arts  0.132* 0.129* 0.138*  0.013* 0.020* 0.019* 
  (0.007) (0.005) (0.004)  (0.005) (0.005) (0.004) 
Took AP mathematics  0.121* 0.121* 0.116*  0.151* 0.146* 0.140* 
  (0.005) (0.004) (0.004)  (0.006) (0.005) (0.004) 
Took AP science  0.051* 0.044* 0.048*  0.058* 0.054* 0.056* 
  (0.006) (0.005) (0.004)  (0.005) (0.005) (0.004) 
Total semesters failed  −0.020* −0.018* −0.020*  −0.003* −0.003* −0.003* 
  (0.001) (0.000) (0.000)  (0.000) (0.000) (0.000) 
High school exit exam (z-score)a  0.079* 0.069* 0.067*  0.038* 0.034* 0.031* 
  (0.002) (0.001) (0.001)  (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) 
Geographic proximityb         
Distance to nearest university   −0.107*    −0.063*  
(100 miles)   (0.038)    (0.005)  
Distance squared   0.074*    0.009*  
   (0.036)    (0.001)  
Number of observations 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 427,300 
Other controls         
High school characteristicsc   Yes    Yes  
High school fixed effects    Yes    Yes 

Notes: Robust standard errors (shown in parentheses) are clustered at the high school level. Overall college application rate to a four-year public university is 0.382 (panel A) and flagship university application rate is 0.106 (panel B). Regressions also control for graduation year, gender, and age (not reported). Linear probability models for high school graduates from 2008 and 2009. Panel A dependent variable is equal to one if the student applied to any Texas four-year university or enrolled at any four-year university within one year of graduation. Panel B dependent variable is equal to one if the student applied to a Texas flagship public university (UT Austin or Texas A&M), enrolled in a Texas flagship public university, or enrolled within one year of graduation at an elite four-year university that is ranked higher than UT Austin by Barron's. Enrollment data are available for all U.S. universities through the National Student Clearinghouse.

aHigh school exit exam scores are a composite z-score of both English language arts and mathematics. Advanced Placement (AP) mathematics include the following subjects: Calculus, Computer Science, and Statistics. AP science includes the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

bThe distance variables are generated using longitude and latitude to compute the distance between all high schools and public universities in Texas. Panel A includes the distance to the nearest four-year public university. Panel B includes the distance to the nearest flagship university.

cCharacteristics include logged enrollment, percent FRPL, percent black, percent Hispanic, lagged measures of percent of graduates entering four-year colleges, percent earning AP credit, percent SAT tested, and Flagship scholarship program.

*Statistical significance at p < 0.05 level.

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