Dissertation Abstracts

Inequalities in Access to Higher Education in Brazil

Author: Mont'Alvao, Arnaldo L, almontalvao@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil
Supervisor: Neuma F. Aguiar
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: Inequalities , Higher Education , Brazil
Areas of Research: Stratification , Education


The study analyzes inequalities in access to higher education in Brazil between 1982 and 2010. Drawing upon data from standardized tests taken from college applicants (ENEM), household sample surveys (PNAD and PAD) and demographic censuses, it estimates, on the one hand, inequalities in academic achievement, and, on the other, inequalities in access to higher education institutions. Differences in access to these institutions are also considered in terms of prestige and separation between general and vocational education. In order to control for unobserved heterogeneity, the study employs latent class regression models, and the main results indicate that socioeconomic origins are important predictors of academic achievement and access to higher education, although this effect has been declining slightly over the time. The results also show that access to universities in the public sector (more prestigious but tuition-free) is more heterogeneous in terms of race and family background. Another important result is that institutions focused on vocational education are less selective than academically oriented ones, which means that an expansion of vocational education would be a good strategy to pursue further decline in stratification of access to higher education.