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  1. Drawing from social capital theory, this study examines the extent to which stable versus new friendship patterns affect low income students’ educational aspirations in urban and rural high schools. Using whole school sociometric data (744 high school students over a two-year period), this study applies a social influence model to determine the effects of stable and newly established friendships on conformity regarding college-going aspirations. Findings indicate that urban students have more new friends and their educational aspirations increased, conforming to those of their newly established friends. In contrast, rural students have more stable friendships than the urban students and theirmore »educational aspirations conformed to those of their stable friends. This work shows that rural students tend not to change their school network size or nominations. However, urban students are more willing to include new students in their school networks which have a positive effect on raising their educational aspirations.« less
  2. This study examines the impact of the college ambition program (CAP) which is designed to increase postsecondary enrollment particularly for low-income and minority high school students. CAP provides course counseling, financial information, college visits, tutoring, and builds social networks with staff and other students. To measure the impact of the intervention, a quasi-experimental design with panel college enrollment survey data complemented by state administrative data were analyzed. Results indicate that the CAP increased 2-year college attendance for low-income and minority students by 9 %. These results underscore the need to differentiate the features of intervention programs and types of channelsmore »in guiding student’s choice of enrolling in a 2-year versus 4-year college.« less