Past studies have shown "college is the great equalizer" in the labor market, dampening social class differences. But the same can’t be said for the marriage market: Social and cultural factors, not just income, are central to marriage decisions. Men and women from the least advantaged backgrounds who attend college appear to be caught between social worlds–reluctant to "marry down" to partners with less education and unable to "marry up" to those from more privileged upbringings, meaning they face a lonely future once they graduate.
Sociologist Kelly Musick says, "College students are becoming more diverse in their social backgrounds, but they nonetheless remain a socio-economically select group. It may be difficult for students from less privileged backgrounds to navigate social relationships on campus, and these difficulties may affect what students ultimately gain from the college experience."
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