The Weight of Socioeconomics Factors in Access Chances to Higher Education in Brazil

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
CLM.4.02 (Clement House)
Luiz Caseiro, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; Brazilian National Institute for Educational Research, Brasilia, Brazil
This paper analyzes how the effect of socioeconomic characteristics of young Brazilians on their chances to access higher education has changed from 2004 to 2013. During this period of ten years, enrollments on higher education in Brazil doubled. Several social programs have been designed, by different government levels and institutions, to reduce geographic, racial and ethnic inequalities in Brazilian education. We propose to analyze if the recent expansion of higher education in Brazil has helped more historically disadvantaged social groups or segments of Brazilian elite. For so doing, we extracted a subsample of data from the Brazilian National Household Survey (PNAD), including the population from 18 to 29 years that concluded secondary education. Through a logistic regression model, we estimate the effects of socioeconomics characteristic of individuals on their chances to access higher education in 2004 and 2013, comparing the parameters obtained for each year. We concluded that, despite the strong inequalities that are entrenched within the Brazilian higher education system, the weight of socioeconomic factors was significantly reduced in the last ten years. In this relatively short period, family income levels and rural/urban disparities have decreased by almost 50% their effects on the chances of individuals to access higher education. Racial and ethnic differences are still strong predictors for access in higher education, but also had their explanatory power significantly reduced. More surprisingly, macro-regional inequalities inverted their effects once controlled by other socioeconomic factors. From all independent variables included, only sex and age had their effects increased within the time considered. We interpret these results in light of sociological tradition of education stratification and foresee policy recommendations drawn from them.