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Abstract

Community colleges likely draw to college individuals who would otherwise not attend due to their low costs and open admission requirements. This is labeled as the democratization effect. They may also divert individuals away from 4-year to terminal 2-year college degrees (the diversion effect). This study estimates democratization and diversion effects separately for nonmetropolitan and metropolitan youth using nationally representative data and models that account for endogenous institution selection. We find the democratization effect to exceed the diversion effect of community colleges for both metro and nonmetro youth. The democratization-diversion ratio is slightly higher for urban youth.

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