The Dual Commodification of College-Going: Individual and Institutional Influences on Access and Choice

  • Rodney P. HughesEmail author
  • Ezekiel W. Kimball
  • Andrew Koricich
Part of the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research book series (HATR, volume 34)


In this chapter, we review the literature on college access and choice, as well as advance a model of college-going that integrates both student and institutional actions and factors that shape choice sets, lead to a specific college choice, and account for changes in the process and system over time. The model we advance features six stages: (1) Available postsecondary options shape students’ preferences, (2) Individual, family, and community circumstances moderate students’ responses, (3) Students signal ability and interest to their preferred institutions, (4) Institutions use incentives to alter specific students’ available choices, (5) Students choose from their available option, and (6) The system changes over time. We illustrate the utility of the model in applications to four student populations, students from rural communities, first-generation college students, students with disabilities, and student-athletes. The chapter concludes with quantitative and qualitative data sources, methodological approaches, and future research directions informed by the central features of the model.


Campus amenities College access College choice College counseling College-going College rankings College readiness College recruiting Financial aid First-generation students High school curriculum Human capital Rural students Selective colleges Social capital Student-athletes Students with disabilities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodney P. Hughes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ezekiel W. Kimball
    • 2
  • Andrew Koricich
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Education and Human ServicesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA
  3. 3.Reich College of EducationAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA

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