Delayed Enrollment and College Plans: Is there a Postponement Penalty?

February 2013
With Sunny X. Niu; Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 84, Page 1-25

Using a representative longitudinal survey of Texas high school seniors who graduated in 2002, we investigate how college postponement is associated with four-year college expectations and attendance—focusing both on the length of delay and the pathway to the postsecondary system. Like prior studies, we show that family background and student academic achievement explains the negative association between delay and college expectations and that these factors, along with two-year college entry pathway, largely accounted for the negative association between postponement and enrollment at a four-year institution in 2006. Although delays of one year or longer are associated with significantly lower odds of attending a baccalaureate-granting institution four years after high school, the longest delays do not incur the most severe enrollment penalties.