College-for-All: Alternative Options and Procedures

  • James E. RosenbaumEmail author
  • Caitlin Ahearn
  • Jennifer Lansing
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


This chapter discusses how the status attainment model has been integral to our understanding of the factors affecting average educational attainment, but it poorly describes institutional procedures and individual strategies that lead to academic success. We pose new issues for understanding the experiences of the growing populations of disadvantaged students in open-admissions 2-year colleges. We describe the experiences of individuals from a small study to provide evidence of how disadvantaged students manage to beat the odds and attain educational success. While we cannot address issues of generalizability, we describe alternative sequences and pathways to educational attainment, institutional supports and procedures, and their self-identified sources of direction, despite the major obstacles and setbacks. We situate our cases in prior extensions of the status attainment model to consider alternative mechanisms to educational attainment. These analyses are crucial if we are to understand the dynamic processes that drive educational attainment despite major obstacles.


Low-income non-traditional students College-going Unconventional trajectories Open-access institutions Certificates and associate degrees 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Rosenbaum
    • 1
    Email author
  • Caitlin Ahearn
    • 2
  • Jennifer Lansing
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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