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Did the Unified State Exam make it easier for residents of all regions of Russia to enter universities?

A new working paper on the Regional Accessibility of Higher Education in Russia was published. The paper is based on the research of CInSt Senior Research Fellow Ilya Prakhov and Research Assistant Polina Bugakova.

Did the Unified State Exam make it easier for residents of all regions of Russia to enter universities?

Abstract
Despite the unified system of admission to universities in Russia, applicants can still face unequal access to higher education. This paper analyzes the barriers which restrict the interregional accessibility of higher education in the context of the Unified State Exam (USE). The authors propose an analytical model, reflecting the influence of channels such as family, school characteristics, and place of birth, on the educational strategies of youth. An empirical examination of the model, based on data from the longitudinal study ‘Trajectories in education and careers’, shows that students from Moscow or Moscow Region are most likely to enroll at university, since they face the lowest barriers. The problem of the accessibility of higher education is more acute for residents of large cities or regional capitals: their likelihood of matriculating is limited by a large number of factors (cognitive abilities, SES, school characteristics). Residents of other settlements (small towns or villages), are least likely to be admitted to university, facing the highest barriers and gender inequality.

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