School reentry in early adulthood: The case of inner-city African Americans

Nan Marie Astone, Robert Schoen, Margaret Ensminger, Kendra Rothert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This article reports on a study of the schooling careers of a recent cohort of African Americans that found that 44 percent of the women and 34 percent of the men reentered school at least once. There were few differences in educational credentials at age 27 between those who attained their education in one spell or two spells of enrollment, although more than two school reentries were not associated with high levels of educational credentials. Using recent models of educational decision making to study the determinants of school reentry and applying discrete time hazards regression, the authors found that, as in models of school persistence, a reentry to school is a function of the costs of enrollment, the probability of success, and the utility of schooling to the individual. Familial resources are not important predictors of a decision for schooling, whereas such factors as military service and engagement with the labor force are. On the basis of these findings, the authors argue that models of educational attainment that emphasize the importance of continuous enrollment need to be updated. These models seem to be particularly inappropriate for the study of groups that experience systemically limited opportunities during childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-154
Number of pages22
JournalSociology of Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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