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Fewer university applications from poor areas

Teens at schools in poor neighbourhoods are 13 per cent less likely toapply to university than students at schools in richer areas, newresearch shows — and the gap is widening, particularly in priceyprograms like commerce.

Teens at schools in poor neighbourhoods are 13 per cent less likely to apply to university than students at schools in richer areas, new research shows — and the gap is widening, particularly in pricey programs like commerce.

But the gap is slightly less at Catholic schools, and at schools with more students of East Asian background, according to the study.

“I think the (Asian) culture in general values education and places it in a higher rank on the priority list,” said Gorick Ng, a Grade 12 student at Toronto’s Marc Garneau Collegiate.

“Growing up in that culture really encourages kids to strive for that goal that has been impressed on them since their childhood. I can see that being one reason why there are so many applicants from those groups.”

Ng’s parents emigrated from China and did not finish high school, but they have always expected him to go to university, which he intends to do next year.

The report, released yesterday by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, tracked applications to university across the province from 1995 to 2005 and found students in neighbourhoods where families earn less than $54,500 a year are less likely to apply to university than those where household income tops $75,000.

It’s not clear why students at Catholic schools in poor areas are a little more likely — five per cent more — to apply to university than their peers at public high schools.

 
 
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