Date of Thesis

Spring 2019


Access to higher education in the United States greatly varies depending on numerous characteristics; especially an applicant’s race and financial status. This thesis aims to answer the following questions regarding access to higher education at Bucknell University: How have socioeconomic factors affecting access evolved in the past twelve years? Has this change increased or decreased access for Bucknell students? Does the level of access change when gender and race are analyzed? Is Bucknell successfully leveling the playing field for all students regarding their earning potential after they graduate? Lastly, does the mismatch hypothesis apply to Bucknell? By utilizing data from the Offices of Admission, Financial Aid, Registrar, and Career Development Center at Bucknell University, this thesis examines what characteristics are significantly impacting a student’s chance at admission and eventually matriculation to Bucknell University. Further, this thesis examines how these significant predictors have evolved since 2006. This thesis finds that access to Bucknell University, through the lens of both admission and matriculation, is heavily dependent on financial status. Furthermore, race is still a significant factor in the admissions decision and even with the increase in acceptances of minority students, matriculation has remained flat or become negative. Lastly, for low income students who are accepted to Bucknell University, there is no evidence of a mismatch hypothesis once they graduate from Bucknell University and begin working.


Access to Higher Education

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Minor, Emphasis, or Concentration


First Advisor

Janet Knoedler

Second Advisor

Amy Wolaver

Included in

Economics Commons