The issue of educational inequality has become an important topic along with the rapid development of education in China. The purpose of this study is to explore the higher educational inequality in access during the period 1949-2005 in China. The study is focused on the influence of socio-economic background (region of origin, father and mother‘s educational level, and gender) on access to higher education. The study is also focused on the changing tendency of higher educational inequality and the relationship between educational expansion and educational inequality in China.
The study utilizes a quantitative method which includes both a cross-sectional approach and a longitudinal approach. Data are from the Chinese official social survey called Chinese General Social Survey of the year 2005 (CGSS2005). The survey includes information that can reflect one‘s socio-economic background and higher educational background.
The result of this study indicates that the socio-economic background could influence higher education attainment in China. Urban students have more possibilities to attain higher education, children whose parents have high-level of education are more often to receive higher education and male are more likely to attain higher education in China. Moreover the result also reveals that the degree of inequality in higher education is increasing during the study period 1949-2005. In China the expansion of higher education has not reduced the inequality problem, and the demands of higher education are still not satisfied.