A Systematic Review of Research on Rural College Access Since 2000
Aligning with the NREA's "college and career readiness" research priority, this article presents a systematic literature review of 134 publications regarding the state of rural college access and choice research between the years 2000 and 2020. We use Perna's (2006) college choice model to guide our comprehensive summary of current themes as well as remaining challenges and opportunities. We find that publications generally failed to articulate the rural context in sufficient detail, that studies in the Appalachian region were overrepresented, and that a majority of publications focused on the roles of rural habitus or K-12 and community context in shaping college aspirations and enrollment for rural students. Future research should prioritize rural regions outside of Appalachia, rural youth of Color, rural forms of capital, and how higher education and social, economic, and political contexts impact rural college access and choice.