Publication Date



This study examines the extent to which household assets and liabilities are related to disparities in children’s college attendance and college graduation among White, Black, and Hispanic families. Results indicate that, after household assets are considered, a substantial portion of the Black-White gap in college attendance and college graduation disappears, and a small portion of the Hispanic-White gap in college graduation also disappears. Separate analyses of children from each racial/ethnic group further indicate that family income and financial assets are related to White children’s college attendance and graduation, but nonfinancial assets and unsecured debt are associated with college attendance and graduation among Black and Hispanic children. Policy implications are considered.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building


Subsequent publication: Zhan, M., & Sherraden, M. (2011). Assets and liabilities, race/ethnicity, and children’s college education. Children & Youth Services Review, 33(11), 2168–2175. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.06.024

Original Citation

Zhan, M., & Sherraden, M. (2010). Assets and liabilities, race/ethnicity, and children's college education (CSD Working Paper No. 10-08). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


College Success


college degree attainment, college enrollment, education, assets, liabilities, race, African American, Hispanic